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ID thieves buy, sell 'street' guns

Identity theft seems to be unstoppable.

In 2012, it cost Americans about $25 billion , almost twice as much as all other thefts (car theft, burglary, robbery) combined.

USA Today says "most local law enforcement lacks the expertise to investigate smaller crimes and the FBI is only interested in massive cases involving hundreds of victims or more."

"Police don't want to be bothered," says one expert. "It's a difficult crime to investigate, and the feeling is, 'Oh, we're never going to catch these guys.' "

The FBI is supposed to investigate ID theft, but the biggest victim of such chicanery is the federal government.

The Boston Globe reports the IRS is "overwhelmed" and could pay out $25 billion to ID thieves in the next 5 years.

One ID thief filed more than 5,000 fraudulent tax returns for a refund of $26.8 million, the Globe reported.

ID theft is so lucrative, at least one police chief says street crime is down because the smart criminals are stealing credit card numbers instead of iPhones.

But in Alabama, ID thieves purchased guns and sold them to street criminals, which likely led to increased local crime. tells us several members of a gang arrested on ID theft charges in Birmingham were using stolen credit cards to buy guns off the internet.

"The guns were then shipped to Birmingham, where the suspects took possession of them and then distributed them on the streets," reports

Police say "most" of those guns were recovered, but it's likely those guns that weren't recovered aren't in the hands of people with carry permits.

I used to think guns used in robberies were all stolen during burglaries. Now I wonder how many criminals buy their guns from their more sophisticated criminal brethren and what it will take to stop that.

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