The IRS has a new section on its website, irs.gov, with information on how to prevent identity theft. Here is one thing to remember. Identity thieves often submit fake returns early, which is why you might want to file early, before thieves have a chance. Tax-refund identity theft is growing. In 2010, the Internal Revenue Service was able to remove almost 49,000 bad returns seeking fraudulent refunds of $247 million. Last year, it removed from processing almost 262,000 returns that sought almost $1.5 billion in fraudulent refunds connected to identity theft. The IRS recently announced a crackdown. Working with the justice department, it targeted 105 people in 23 states suspected of stealing thousands of identities and refunds.