The Federal Trade Commission now reports that Identity Theft is the #1 consumer complaint.
The IRS has almost 700,000 PENDING (unresolved) identity theft cases. This is a 69% increase over last year. The IRS also takes an average of 275 days simply to resolve an identity theft case (based on prior year filing season statistics). And wait times are increasing.
Sadly, the IRS does not have nearly enough manpower to deal with this enormous problem. Proof: only 37% of incoming calls were answered by the IRS during the 2015 tax season. Wait times to speak to an operator were almost half an hour, on average.
The IRS has tried to respond to the issue by creating a special Identity Protection Specialized Unit which taxpayers can call (the toll-free number is 1-800-908-4490). When we called this number, it gave us a number of prompts, but would not let us speak to a human being, so we aren't sure how useful it is to the general public.
There is some useful information on the IRS website, here, with steps to follow when you have tax related identity theft.
What can we do? Be patient and persevere, and hope that the IRS finds a better way to deal with this ever-increasing problem.