By Michael Schwanke
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
3:23 PM CST, February 27, 2013
Tax related identity theft is a problem that’s only getting worse. It’s one of the fastest growing complaints to the Federal Trade Commission.
“It makes me feel like what else is out there under my name,” says Mary Payne who went to file her taxes at H&R Block, but quickly discovered there was a problem.
“At the end...it's like oh…wait you have a dispute,” Payne said.
Someone not only filed using her personal information, they took out a loan on the expected refund.
“I owe money for something someone else took out in my name,” she said.
It's more common than you may think and tax experts tell FactFinder 12 it's getting worse.
“It's very important to protect your identity because once it’s stolen it can be frustrating and you really are a victim,” said Traci Wilnerd with the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
Victims can feel helpless.
“I feel like there's nothing I can do about it I wish there were more do about it,” Payne said.
The problem can be fixed, but it’s not easy.
“It can be time consuming so I tell people to stay with us because it's time consuming,” Wilnerd said.
Wilnerd said there’s another identity theft scam that’s a growing problem.
She said the IRS will not e-mail you or contact you by phone to ask for your personal information.
If you get a call or an e-mail asking for your personal information it is a scam. Do not reply.
If you have concerns you should contact the IRS directly.
If your identity is stolen, there are steps you can take with the IRS. It will flag your return and give you a personal identification number so no one else can file using your information.
You can also contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service at 866-316-6404.
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