SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – All it takes is your name, social security number, and some made up tax information for someone to file your tax refund for you.
“Last year my sister went to file her taxes and she found out that they had already been filed”, says Springfield resident Thomas DelNegro. “I was completely shocked. I never though it would happen to somebody I knew.”
Don’t let the thought that it can’t happen to you cloud your judgment. Thieves steal thousands of dollars from the government by committing tax identity theft every year.
The number of individuals reporting identity theft decreased by almost half in 2017, but it still happens.
Your taxes technically aren’t due until April 17 this year. Tax accountants are warning people to file your taxes early so that someone else doesn’t get to them first.
“If you file before a thief, then when the thief files the return they’re going to get the notice that said ‘you already filed, why are you filing again?'”,says Springfield tax accountant and lawyer, Paul Mancinone. “That means they’re out of luck.”
If you’re a victim of tax identity theft, you may not see that years refund for another year while the IRS looks into your case.
If your identity has been stolen before, Mancinone suggests you contact the IRS before filing.
They will give you a special pin number to file your taxes under so that your identity can’t be stolen again on your taxes.