WJTV News Channel 12 - In tax season, your identity is in demand

In tax season, your identity is in demand

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In Hillsborough County, deputies found more than 20,000 stolen identities in 2013. In Hillsborough County, deputies found more than 20,000 stolen identities in 2013.
Quan Jasmon Davis Quan Jasmon Davis

Even while law enforcement report a slowdown in signs of tax fraud on Tampa Bay streets, they warn your identity is in demand this tax filing season.

Officers and federal agents are again recommending taxpayers file their returns early to get their submissions on record before a criminal tries to use their identity to file a fake return to get refund money.

They're also hoping their investigations will identify and shut down breaches in businesses and other sources that can provide fraudsters with the fuel for their identity theft crimes.

In Hillsborough County, deputies found more than 20,000 stolen identities in 2013.

Earlier this month, investigators say they found about a dozen identities – names, dates of birth and social security numbers – in the Hillsborough County apartment of student Quan Jasmon Davis.

"They came from Quest Diagnostics, they were patients of Quest in some form or fashion," said Corp. Bruce Crumpler of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.

Crumpler says Davis, 35, used to work for Quest, a large company with laboratories around the country.

The individuals whose information was found in that investigation included residents of Georgia and North Carolina. It's unclear yet whether any of the identities discovered as part of that investigation were used in any way.

Davis returned News Channel 8's call with a voice mail, saying she was not guilty and that she didn't want to talk about the case.

Quest did not return calls for comment.

With tax filing season underway, victims of the identity theft tax fraud crime may not find out their information was used by someone else until they try to file their tax return.

Stephen Estevez says he after he filed his return last week, he got an email indicating someone else had already filed a return using his social security number. The problem will likely delay his real refund, which his family was counting on.

"As far as I know it's in limbo at this point," Estevez said.

If you believe you're a victim of identity theft in connection with your tax return, the IRS recommends contacting the IRS directly (the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit can be reached at 800-908-4490), as well as local law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission and credit bureaus.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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