WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - If you're not careful, thieves could end up with your money while you're waiting for you tax refund.
It's a new and growing trend of identity theft: more and more thieves are not only stealing identities, but they're filing tax returns as well- YOUR tax return.
Tax filers at Liberty Tax in West Springfield say that they are seeing more people coming to them for help.
"We certainly have seen an increase in the number of people coming to us to get help where their identity has been stolen," tax preparer Ray Maagero said.
The issue is a concern for Robert Cunningham of West Springfield.
"Well, I'm a little nervous because it's been four years worth of taxes," Cunningham said. "I think it's going to take a long time, I just hope I have all the paperwork I need."
Cunningham has been deployed in the military, and he's hoping he'll end up with the refund he's been waiting for. A lot of people do look forward to that refund, and if the refund gets taken, that's just part of the identity theft issue that people are going to be facing. Cleaning up their credit. is another problem, but there are warning signs and steps you can take to prevent tax identity fraud:
- Make sure that the computers you use are password-protected
- Be sure to always use strong passwords
- Keep in mind, the IRS will never initiate communication through email, so if you do get any suspicious emails saying they're from the IRS you should forward them to email@example.com.
- Sign up for identity theft protection so you do see that check you've been waiting for