CLEVELAND --Identity theft is a serious problem around income tax time.

Retired couple Tom and Joyce McIntosh, of Maple Heights, know about that first-hand.

Joyce says, "It was just a horrible ordeal."

Tom says, "You got to check everything these days, your credit reports, everything."

The couple files "old school" paper returns.

They wondered why it was taking them so long to get last year's refund check.

They made multiple calls to the IRS before getting an answer.

They were told, "Your Social Security number's been compromised."

Apparently, ID thieves e-filed using it.

They called in time to stop a refund check being issued to a bogus taxpayer.

But they didn't get much help until U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown's office got involved.

There are an estimate 1.8 million taxpayers nationwide and 67,000 in Ohio who had identity theft issues last year.

Brown is co-sponsoring legislation to build in more protections and require Uncle Sam to do more to help ID theft victims.

"There are few protections built-in to help identity fraud," he said.

The bill would speed up refunds to identity theft victims, stop multiple checks from going to the same account or address, and make the feds be more vigilant with sensitive infformation.

"We should take Social Security numbers off Medicare cards," he said.

The McIntoshs did get their $921refund check.

And there was a bonus. They got $25 in interest which, of course, they had to pay tax on this year.