Over the past several years, the IRS actions against tax identity fraud were successful in driving down the rate of tax fraud. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. The IRS extended due dates and become bogged down trying to process returns while keeping their employees safe. Additionally, U.S. stimulus payments were administered as tax refunds and the Federal government enhanced state unemployment benefits. Identity thieves had more financial incentive than ever before to commit tax and benefits fraud. Central Mutual with more.