FTC warns about tax related identity theft - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Text Description

FTC warns about tax related identity theft

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Tax filing season will officially begin on January 31st, but the Federal Trade Commission is warning people of tax related identity theft this week. News 3 is on your side with what steps to take to keep your identity in tact. With tax season kicking off in just a couple weeks, people will be shopping around for a firm to prepare their taxes. The Better Business Bureau has some advice before you give out personal information .

The first month of a new year should bring a W-2 form from your employer, but if you don't take precautions it could also give criminals a way to steal your identity.

"As quick as it arrives, you want to retrieve it so that nobody can capture that, and go pretend that they are you and file your return for you," said Leonard Crain at the Better Business Bureau.

On that tax return form, there are a number of things that can change from year to year like where you work adn where you live, so you should take extra precaution to protect your personal information. Cedric Mitchell at Supreme Fast Tax says they see this problem frequently in Columbus and if thieves have your social security number and date of birth, they may be able to file on your behalf. The steps to get your refund back can be extensive.

"People get refunds as late as December from the IRS because it is a long process to go through to prove you are who you are. Because somebody has already been paid on that return," said Cedric Mitchell at Supreme Fast Tax.

To protect yourself the BBB says to make sure you trust your tax preparer. You can check their certifications and make sure they are properly registered with the IRS. In the United States, they must have a tax identification number. Mitchell says you should also refrain from giving out your social security number when you're shopping around for a tax preparer. He says you should be able to get an estimate without providing that information. Mitchell says if someone does steal your identity to get your refund, the IRS will give you a PIN number that changes every year so thieves won't be able to get your refund again. The BBB says you should always read the contract closely and avoid preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the refund.

For more information about tax related identity theft you can visit www.ftc.gov.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Update: Victim identified in Columbus shooting

    Update: Victim identified in Columbus shooting

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:08 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:08:15 GMT
    Columbus police responding to calls of a shooting on Adair Avenue, police confirm.
    Columbus police responding to calls of a shooting on Adair Avenue, police confirm.
  • April Mugshots

    April Mugshots

    Thursday, April 10 2014 11:54 AM EDT2014-04-10 15:54:25 GMT

    April arrests made in the Upstate and western North Carolina.

    April arrests made in the Upstate and western North Carolina.

  • Amber Alert canceled after toddler girl found; parents arrested

    Amber Alert went out after sibling was found dead

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:00 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:00:27 GMT
    Photo from WJTVPhoto from WJTV
    An Amber Alert has been canceled after 2-year old Maliah Harris was found safe in Georgia. Her 7-month-old sibling, Alyssa, was found dead and Maliah disappeared from a Mississippi home which prompted authorities to issue the alert. The girls parents, Donald Boyd Harris,34, and Allison Studdard, 31, are now in custody.
    An Amber Alert has been canceled after 2-year old Maliah Harris was found safe in Georgia. Her 7-month-old sibling, Alyssa, was found dead and Maliah disappeared from a Mississippi home which prompted authorities to issue the alert. The girls parents, Donald Boyd Harris,34, and Allison Studdard, 31, are now in custody.
  • Consumer WatchMore>>

  • Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

    Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:51 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:51:06 GMT
    Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts.
    Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts.
  • Avoid costly financial aid traps

    Avoid costly financial aid traps

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 6:05 PM EDT2014-04-09 22:05:57 GMT
    Time is running out for high school seniors who are planning to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The deadline is June 30th but experts say the earlier you fill it out the better.
    Time is running out for high school seniors who are planning to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The deadline is June 30th but experts say the earlier you fill it out the better.
  • Wiping old electronics clean

    Wiping old electronics clean

    Monday, December 30 2013 6:05 PM EST2013-12-30 23:05:42 GMT
    If you were lucky enough to have gotten a new tablet or laptop for the holidays, you're probably passing your old one on to someone else or sending it off to be recycled. Consumer Reports says before you
    If you were lucky enough to have gotten a new tablet or laptop for the holidays, you're probably passing your old one on to someone else or sending it off to be recycled. Consumer Reports says before you
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.