Almost $1.5 billion is the amount criminals committing identity theft sought in fraudulent tax returns in 2011 according to Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post. Tax identity theft is on the rise and criminals try to file early using stolen Social Security numbers or other personal identifiable information. So you may want to file early. Don’t forget, the IRS will never initiate contact with you via email to ask for any personal or financial information. If you think you may have been a victim of this type of identity theft, contact the IRS at 800-908-4490.