JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local realtor says she recently was a victim of identity theft and social security fraud.
"The reason I am telling my story is because if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone," said Christine Williams.
Williams called her accountant last week to file her taxes and she didn't expect to hear that her taxes had already been filed by someone else.
Williams' accountant told her that someone must have stolen her information and filed her taxes. She was shocked.
"Who would have done this to me?" said Williams.
Thieves across the U.S. are victimizing many people this tax season. In fact, the IRS put out a warning that identity theft is a growing problem everywhere.
Last year, the agency took 2,400 enforcement actions against identity thieves.
Three members of congress are also taking action. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson filed legislation to create harsher punishments for offenders. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
If it passes, the proposal would increase prison time for offenders from three years to five years. It would also give the IRS 90 days to get identity theft victims their refund.
Since Williams owed the IRS, she said luckily, the person who stole her identity didn't get anything. She said she does wonder how her information was stolen.
"Somehow we need to protect our information and be more proactive than we are on the front end because we are so exposed," said Williams. "Our social security number is everywhere."
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