The attacks come after state and local ransomware attacks in New York, Louisiana, Maryland and Florida resulted in the loss of significant sums.Technologyread more
Twitter and Facebook have suspended accounts believed to be tied to a state-backed disinformation campaign originating from inside China.Technologyread more
United States Steel Corp will temporarily lay off hundreds of workers at its Great Lakes facility in Michigan in coming weeks, according to a filing the steelmaker made with...US Marketsread more
Beijing will lower borrowing costs for companies, but that may not boost the economy as much as some hope.China Economyread more
Stocks are bouncing higher but could be trapped in a range longer term, until there's a resolution of the trade wars.Market Insiderread more
Stocks in Asia edged higher Tuesday morning as investors await the release of minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's July meeting. The People's Bank of China is also set...Asia Marketsread more
Powell will have the opportunity if not to walk back the "midcycle" assessment then to at least provide some further explanation about what it means.Economyread more
The report comes as Trump in recent days has lashed out over media reports about growing recession fears.Politicsread more
Apple has spent more than $6 billion on original TV shows and movies for its forthcoming Apple TV+ service, according to a Financial Times report on Monday.Technologyread more
The Business Roundtable, led by Jamie Dimon, gives a new definition of the "purpose of a corporation."Marketsread more
"These days, the consumer is addicted to convenience ... If it doesn't have a great digital presence or incredible bargains, take a pass," Jim Cramer says.Mad Money with Jim Cramerread more
What's worse than filing your taxes? Having an identity thief steal your return check.
Identity theft is already a serious problem—the No. 1 complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, and tax-related identity theft is a growing part of this crime spree. In 2010, about 15 percent of all identity theft complaints to the FTC dealt with tax returns. In 2013, that jumped to 43 percent.
"It's a lucrative crime and relatively easy to commit," said Adam Levin, chairman and founder of Identity Theft 911. "All you need is a Social Security number and some counterfeit documents. It's much easier than selling drugs or stealing cars and a lot less risky for the bad guys."
One way to prevent this from happening is to file early. Why? The IRS may be able to process your return before the identity thieves can.
"It really can be a race to the IRS," said Steve Toporoff, coordinator of the Identity Protection Program at the FTC. "They usually don't have access to W-2 forms, so they just make up income numbers and hope their phony return gets through the process," Toporoff explained.
If the crook is successful, your legitimate return will be kicked out and the refund denied because the IRS computers will show that you were already paid.
(Read more: Court halts robocalls aimed at senior citizens)
You will get your money—eventually, but it could be delayed for months. The IRS says a typical case can take about 180 days to resolve.
The government fights back
Identity theft is a top priority for the IRS. On its website, the agency says it's taking "new steps and strong actions to protect taxpayers and help victims of identity theft and refund fraud."
The IRS has more than 3,000 employees working on identity theft issues. More than 35,000 employees who deal with taxpayers have been trained to recognize return fraud and to help the victim when it happens.
(Read more: 4 tips for avoiding holiday-related identity theft)
The agency's criminal investigation unit has focused on finding and prosecuting the thieves who commit return fraud. In fiscal year 2013:
"We applaud the IRS for taking steps to deal with this problem," said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that helps victims of ID theft. "They have thwarted billions of dollars in fraud, but there are still billions of dollars being stolen and more needs to be done."
Know the warning signs
Most victims find out there's a problem when they get a letter from the IRS that says they've filed more than one return or that they earned wages from an unknown employer, which likely means someone stole your Social Security number to get a job.
If you get such a notice, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit right away at 800-908-4490, extension 245. There's paperwork you need to file and things you should do as quickly as possible because you are now vulnerable to all types of identity theft.
"The Social Security number is the Holy Grail," Velasquez said. "Once you have enough information to file a phony tax return, you have enough information to open new lines of credit, commit medical identity theft and take over financial accounts."
(Read more: How to avoid financial scams targeting seniors)
The refund thieves may also try to claim your tax refund next year, so if you're a victim get a verification PIN code from the IRS that you must use to file future returns.
Do not respond to an unexpected email or text message that claims to be from the IRS. The IRS does not do business that way. Its initial contact is always by mail.
You can't prevent tax-related identity theft—we're all vulnerable, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk.
The FTC has declared this week Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. There are seminars, webinars, text chats and other special events taking place all across the country this week.