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.