Tax-Related Identity Theft

Skyrocketing fraud by thieves getting their hands on your tax refund before you do.
3:00 | 01/20/14

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Transcript for Tax-Related Identity Theft
be so be zeroing in on who was behind that target security breach. A new lead, one cyber intelligence firm saying the malware used in the hacking was designed by a 17-year-old Russian male. Allegedly a well-known programmer in the underworld who has about 60 customers who buy his software. And to the other threat we're following tonight involving your tax refund check. The thieves out to get it before you can. Here's ABC's gio Benitez. Reporter: Tonight, irs watchdogs are calling it a growing epidemic. Thieves taking off with your tax returns before you ever file them. Jennifer Orange says she was a victim. Somebody had already filed taxes using our social security Numbers. And we were denied getting our tax return back. Reporter: She says it took her six months to get her hands on her own cash. It makes you feel like you're about this big. Reporter: She's in Florida, which tops the nation in I.D. Theft. But it's happening everywhere. Irs watchdogs say 1.6 million Americans nationwide fell victim to the crime in just the first half of 2013. The federal trade commission telling ABC news tax I.D. Threat complaints have nearly doubled. All they have to do is use your social security number, fill out a 1040-ez form. These days, you don't have to submit a paper copy of your w-2, so, thieves can make up all the information and get a tax refund in your name. Reporter: What's worse? Fixing the problem and getting your money back isn't easy. It could take as long as a year. But this is like whack-a-mole. It's such a big problem, it's hard to go after everybody. And to get convictions against everybody. You were saying the most important thing is to make sure the tax return that you fill out gets to the irs before the one someone else fills out for you. Reporter: That's right. You want to get it done quickly, because the longer you take, the more time you are giving that thief to get it in first. All right, gio Benitez, thank you. When we come back here

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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