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States fight surge in fake tax filings from identity thieves

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State revenue authorities across the country are battling an upsurge in identity thieves filing false tax returns.

And they’re taking new steps to combat the problem. In Kentucky, for example, state officials are telling taxpayers that refunds might take longer than usual because they need more time this year to verify returns are real.

States also are turning to outsiders for help, quizzing taxpayers more closely about their identities and tapping the experience of the IRS, which has its own problems with such fraud.

An official with the Federation of Tax Administrators says taxpayers can help, too. She recommends devising hard-to-guess passwords, changing them regularly, and using different ones for different electronic accounts.