DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Both Southaven and Olive Branch police departments have had several identity theft reports the last few weeks. Investigators say that's because we're almost halfway through tax season.
The rush is on. It's also prime time for those looking to steal your identity. The simple solution: use common sense and keep good records.
"The early part of February we start seeing them come through," says Lt. Mark Little on increased complaints of identity theft. "People go to file their taxes and the IRS says 'Hey you've already filed under this social security number.'"
"They're in a mess. There's nothing they really can do expect try to talk to the IRS," says Michael Plunk, who's prepared taxes for 23 years.
"It's important to know who you're filing your taxes with," he says. His advice? Use bigger chains with well known names that are in business year round.
"You're giving them your social security number and your date of birth and quite often your bank information. That's just everything someone might need (to steal your identity)."
If the worst happens, it's up to the victim to prove foul play.
"With online e-filing there's no way to tell where it occurred," Little says. "They don't necessarily steal your money with your social security number, but they file a fictitious tax return using your social and get a refund back."
Little says your money still belongs to you, but don't expect to get it easily or quickly.
"You have to re-file and you have to prove it wasn't you that did it. Other than keeping good records, if you do get notified yours has been used, you need to get on that quickly. Get a report down and file a complaint."