New tax season brings warning of identity theft

Alicia Utley
FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2017 file photo, tax professional and tax preparation firm owner Alicia Utley reaches for hard copies of tax forms while working to stay caught up at the start of the tax season rush in her offices at Infinite Tax Solutions, in Boulder, Colo. Millions of working Americans should start seeing fatter paychecks as early as next month, the IRS says, as a result of the recently passed tax law. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

GREENVILLE, N.C.  (WNCT) – Monday marks the first day you can file your taxes with the IRS.

The tax season brings familiar scams and threats to your personal information.

Experts warn that people can people take your information and claim your refund early.

There is a chance your information can be used against you in tax return identity theft.

Kathy Kraeblen is a senior wealth strategist with PNC Bank.

Kraeblen said, “The thing with having somebody file a fraudulent return in your name, perhaps before you even get a chance to file your own tax return, can be quite a surprise to people that it even happens.”

More than 370,000 taxpayers were victims of tax refund identity theft in 2016.

Information like a name, date of birth, or social security number is all it takes.

Thieves can even use the identity of your children to write off fake returns with the hopes of cashing in.

“The IRS, in concert with financial institutions, is really making a lot of progress on cutting down on this particular type of crime this particular type of identity theft,” Kraeblen said.

Kraeblen warned to never carry your social security number on you.

She said places like the doctor’s office should not need it but if they ask, only give the last four digits.

Kreablen added if your information gets stolen it may be hard to get it back.

“It doesn’t take much information for someone to be able to do all sorts of different types of identity theft with just a few pieces of information,” said Kraeblen.

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