- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana authorities say they are seeing more fake tax returns filed due to a rise identity theft.

The Montana Department of Revenue said so far this tax season it has blocked 57 fraudulent returns totaling $64,000. That compares to 17 fraudulent returns by the end of January last year.

Revenue Director Mike Kadas says his agency is using extra security and review procedures to catch instances of fraud. He says that will slow down the issuance of refunds.

Taxpayers are being told to file early to pre-empt fraudulent filings and to change their usernames and passwords if they are using self-preparation tax software.

Officials say 20 other states and the federal Internal Revenue Service have reported similar problems with fraud this year.

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