(AJC) — Before Jesus Trejo could file his 2010 tax return, he got a bill last month from the IRS for $3,434. “Of course I was unhappy,” the Norcross man said. “I’ve never had a problem with my taxes before.” Trejo learned that his Social Security number had been stolen, not only preventing him from completing his tax return and claiming a possible refund but putting him in debt. “This happens all over the world,” Trejo, 34, said. “But I never thought it would happen to me.” It is happening more and more often. The number of criminal investigations initiated by the IRS and the Georgia Department of Revenue has soared in the past year, increasing by nearly 200 federal cases and more than 20,000 state-wide. “It’s becoming very prevalent,” said Staci Guest, director of the state revenue department’s Office of Special Investigations. Revenue Department officials detected more than 52,000 fraudulent tax returns in Georgia in the 2010 tax season, halting roughly $41 million in refunds. In 2009, the department found nearly 29,000 cases worth $40 million.
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