I-TEAM INVESTIGATES: Your tax information for sale on the dark web

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.-- The only thing that is certain is death and taxes, and if we can add one more to the list: change.

Diadra Turner is a tax associate at H&R Block, and she's been fielding a lot of questions this year about what's changing.

"Tax reform is virtually impacting everyone this year with the changes to tax law and the rates and the brackets, so it's affecting everyone this year," she explained.

If you're hoping to get a tax refund, you're in luck. The average refund is estimated to be as much as 26% higher this year. But, the bad news: you aren't the only one looking forward to your refund. Thieves are busy buying and selling your identity online, trying to file your taxes before you can.

"It's great if you can file early. That way, you can beat the fraudsters to the punch," Turner said.

We wanted to know how easy it is to buy a social security number online. An undercover law enforcement agent took a look for us on the dark web.

With so many recent data breaches, prices are rock bottom. A terrifying amount of data is available.

This post shares a dark web link to purchase the social security number of any US or UK citizen. It reads 'Most people are in there. Everyone I've needed a SSN for at least have been in there. Also, it's only $3.7 per ssn and instantly received.'

Too rich for your blood? Another post says 'here's a freebie' that goes on to list name, social security number, date of birth, addresses, parent's names, and the list goes on. For free.

Need one with 'excellent credit' no problem. How about an identity with 'no criminal history'.

The FTC says about 20% of all identity theft complaints in 2017 were from tax identity theft, and experts are expecting that number to be higher this year.

Experts best advice to avoid becoming a victim? File your tax return as soon as you can. If you file your taxes first, no one else can fraudulently file a claim with your social security number.

If you become a victim, you can file a form to let the IRS know at identitytheft.gov.