Tax preparer talks identity theft

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – While filing taxes, some people may discover some disturbing information about their personal identity information.

Each year, thousands of people collectively lose millions of dollars and an overwhelming amount of time due to identity theft. Many don’t realize their identity was stolen until it’s too late.

“Depending on the situation and the severity of what their identity has been used for, it can be devastating,” said Tony Martin with TR Tax. “We’ve had some clients where it’s taken six months to almost a year to get their tax refund. Then, if you have fraudulent credit items on your credit report, it could take just as long to get those items removed.”

At that point, the thief may have already racked up thousands in credit card debt. They also may have already collected your tax refund and your stimulus check. To make a stressful situation worse, you still have to file taxes.

“You’re most likely going to have to mail your return because if you’re a victim of identity theft, you’re not going to be able to file a return again. Unfortunately, this is going to delay any refund that you get for that particular year.”

If you try filing your taxes online and it’s rejected, there are a few things you need to do immediately.

“You’ll immediately want to contact the IRS and let them know that you’re a victim of identity theft. Contact the three credit bureaus and let them know that you need to freeze your credit. Also, review your credit reports and make sure there’s no fraudulent activity there.”

It could take months to get things sorted out, but it isn’t impossible to get your life back on track.

To protect your identity, it’s a good idea to shred documents before throwing them out and be cautious about sharing information online.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.