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Identity Theft And Tax Prep - abc27 WHTM

Identity Theft And Tax Prep

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Lynchburg, VA - The threat is growing for scammers to steal your identity this tax season.

Now, the IRS has sounded the alarm. They say stopping refund fraud related to identity theft is a top priority. This was such a problem last year, they have doubled their employees who work on identity theft cases for this go-around. More than 3,000 IRS employees are now working to stop the scammers.

Starting this week, Liberty Tax service is open from 7 a.m. until midnight.

 "We have been very, very, very, busy," said Maria Childress who works as a tax preparer at Liberty Tax on Memorial Avenue.

Their goal is to help people file taxes quickly and safely, and they take the right precautions to prevent identity theft.

"We have secure records of your identity making sure that you actually match what your ID says," said Childress.

Denise Smith has been a tax specialist for years. She says last year was a "nightmare" when it comes to identity theft.

"We noticed an upswing last year in false tax returns being filed," said Smith.

If your identity is stolen through a tax filling, it means someone who is not you filed under your social security number. Once you file the correct taxes, and they are rejected, you know your identity has been compromised.

"The taxpayer then has the chance or has the burden of going back through and proving that they really are the person that belongs to that or those dependents really do belong to that tax payer," said Childress.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, the IRS assigns you a PIN number.

"Your social has been flagged for identity theft. So it is necessary to have that PIN," said Smith.

Your tax return cannot be filed without it, and it's how the IRS knows the tax form you submit with the PIN is actually the right one.

"It protects the tax payers from future fraudulent tax returns being filed under their social security number," said Smith.

Both tax specialists tell me it's important to keep your social security number secure.

Keep your card in a safe place, and never share the number. If you are assigned a PIN from the IRS, it's crucial to protect that number the same way.

 

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