- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Identity theft complaints in Ohio have already surpassed the number received last year by about 300, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Kate Hanson, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Mike DeWine, said the consumer protection division of DeWine’s office has received 1,646 complaints this year, up from 1,343 for all of 2014.

“A lot of people are discovering accounts in their name that they never opened,” she said.

The thieves use victims’ personal information to apply for income tax refunds, credit cards and loans and to obtain medical care.

“Tax-related identity theft continues to be a big one,” Hanson said. “We encourage people to file their taxes early to try to prevent that.”

There’s also been an increase in complaints of scammers calling people pretending to be with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service or U.S. Treasury and trying to trick them into sending money they don’t owe, The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1QrhVMn ) reported.

DeWine’s office received more than 600 reports of what is called the IRS Scam between Nov. 18 and Nov. 25. Nationally, almost 4,550 victims gave thieves more than $23 million as a result of the scam since Oct. 2013, according to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com

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