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Lawmaker says DOR should pay for credit reports

A Wisconsin senator says it's guaranteed that someone will have their identities stolen because of a bureaucratic mistake.

The Revenue Department admitted last Friday that 170,000 income tax booklets were mailed with the Social Security numbers on the outside labels -- almost an invitation for mail thieves to commit identity theft.

Now, Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, says the Revenue Department should give free credit reports to those affected, as well as other tools for fighting identity theft.

Meredith Helgerson of the revenue agency says folks should call one of the three major credit bureaus on their own to see if they were victimized, and to put a freeze on their records.

The booklets in question went to individuals who filed the long Form 1 on paper last year. A printing company's computer error was blamed.

Internet tax filers were not affected and neither were those who filed the short form or corporate returns a year ago.

The error was reported in last Saturday's newspapers and those stories told people to watch their mailboxes that day. But Saturday just happens to be the lowest readership day of the week.

With many starting their New Year's weekends early, thousands may never have gotten the message until now.