Tax return identity theft still a large problem

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – You can start filing tax returns January 19th. The problem is that most taxpayers don’t have all of their information until February.

Tax Attorney Paul Mancinone told 22News that criminals don’t have to wait for information because they make it up. Since you can file a day earlier than usual this year, that puts your identity at a higher risk.

Mancinone said identity thieves take advantage of the system by filing your tax return as early as they can, which is why it’s so important for you to file as soon as you can. “As long as the thief files before the actual taxpayer they have a chance of getting away with the theft,” Mancinone explained. “And that’s why they tend to file immediately, when most of us don’t have the luxury of doing so.”

The IRS has more than 3,000 employees working on identity theft cases. They say the best to protect yourself is to check your credit report once a year, protect your financial information, and to secure your personal computer.

If you do become a victim of identity theft, the IRS says you should file a police report, and report it to the Federal Trade Commission immediately.

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