Last minute tax filers face greater risk of identity theft

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Some of you may have been unable to file because some one else filed under your identity.

According to Government Statistics, the number of identity theft incidents involving taxpayers continues to soar.

Taxpayers filed into Liberty Tax Service in York, on the last day to file, to prevent any penalties.

Mary Baley sat down with a tax preparer and learned she won’t be receiving a government refund.

Baley says, “I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel, I’ll owe money, so I won’t be happy.”

But she’ll be even more disappointed if she falls victim to identity theft.

Peter Goodman is the Division Manager at Liberty Tax Service. He says, "The earlier you file, the better your chances of beating the odds because the sooner you file, the more likely nobody else has tried to file with your Social Security Number and name and information."

Baley says, "That's why I don't use anything on the computer, I don't purchase through the Internet. I have had someone bump my bank card before."

Baley caught the problem before it got worse. Not everyone's as lucky during tax season.

Investment Consultant, Tracy Burke, says, "In 2014, there was about $50 billion dollars of tax refunds the IRS prevented from going out...but on the other hand, lost $5 billion dollars."

Burke says if you can't file early, you've got to protect your social security number.

Burke says, "That's a very private number and can get out there quickly and once it does, it's out there forever and you can't get it back."

If you file electronically and your identity's been stolen, you'll be rejected from the system, and you'll have to send your return through the mail.

Goodman says, "Every year forward you'll have to provide an identity protection number the IRS provides and additional requirements to prove you are who you say you are."

If you fall victim, you'll have to wait 6-9 months before the IRS resolves the problem and you see your refund. As for the thieves, the IRS investigates each case. The IRS says last year 748 people were sentenced. That's up from 438 in 2013.

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