What to do if you fall victim to identity theft, tax fraud

WAAY 31 talked with a local tax accountant about what steps you can take if someone steals your identity and commits tax fraud.

Posted: Mar. 7, 2018 2:26 PM
Updated: Mar. 7, 2018 9:21 PM

WAAY 31 learned what you should do if you are a victim of identity theft and, more specifically, tax fraud.

This comes after employees with Scottsboro City Schools had their W-2 information compromised because of a phishing scam.

WAAY 31 talked with a local tax accountant about what steps you can take if something like this happens to you.

And according to tax accountants at Winsett Financial Group, tax fraud is more common than you think.

In fact, they tell WAAY 31 they’ve had several clients impacted by scammers.

“It does happen a lot. You need to be very careful about who you give your private information to," said tax accountant, Melanie King.

WAAY 31 reached out to King after employees in the Scottsboro City school system had their social security numbers stolen and couldn’t file their income taxes because someone else already had.

“If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to file an identity theft affidavit, and that will have to be submitted with your paper tax returns," King said.

She says, after having someone steal your identity and file your income taxes before you do, you’ll have to mail in your tax return that year instead of filing them online.

But there’s a catch.

“Every year, from there on out, you’ll get an identity protection PIN in the mail, and that will have to be on your tax return every year in order to be able to file it," King said.

King says, fortunately, scammers won’t be able to file your taxes without that six-digit PIN.

But having to mail in your tax returns can be a bit of an inconvenience.

“I definitely wouldn’t expect to get a refund any time within twelve weeks or so," King said.

But, luckily, the year the theft happens should be the only year that you have to file a paper return.

And if something like this does happen to you, King has some extra advice.

“Contact your credit bureau, put a fraud alert on your account," King said. "And also, pull your credit report and see if there’s any accounts that have been opened in your name.”

King wants to remind everyone to always be careful about who you share personal information with, and make sure they are legitimate before complying to any of their requests.

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