JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The last year has been a nightmare for Lindsey Houston.
Last February she and her husband filed their taxes and waited, and waited.
"It was 6 or 8 weeks and we didn't get anything so we went back and checked through our email.l
That's when they found a letter, rejecting their return. A call to Turbotax led them to realize they were victims of tax refund fraud, and their check was in the hands of a stranger.
Tom Stephens, President of the BBB for Northeast Florida and Southeast Atlantic says more and more thieves are targeting unsuspecting tax filers thousands of miles away.
"It keeps growing and growing because it gets easier and easier to do.
Stephens says the number ID thefts has exploded over the past two years.
"Eleven million people in 2011 had some kind of ID theft problem.
Just last month, the IRS investigated 560 cases nationwide, a jump from a total of 898 in 2012, and 276 in 2011.
And Floridans are a popular target. Action News found Florida leads the country for ID fraud with more than 178 complaints per 100,000 people according to the Federal Trade Commission. In 2011, Houston was just one of 33,595 victims.
"I think the scariest thing is wondering how will they ever fix it," she says.
The IRS says it is cracking down. In a conference call Thursday, Commissoner Steve Miller said last months investigation resulted in 45 arrests across the state. He added that $20 billion in potential fraud was stopped last year, but admits there is still a lot of work to do. Although 500,000 complaints have been closed, another 300,00 are still being investigated.
"We can't claim a complete victory, because that's not correct. But we have aggressively pursued these thieves and are making progress. That is something I can assure the victims."
After 10 months of phone calls and letters, Houston finally got her money back, but she worries many more taxpayers will live the same nightmare she has in the next year.
"The most frustrating is that they'll do it again. Absolutely."
For more information about tax refund fraud, visit the special identity protection page at