Crooks use identity theft to score tax refunds - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Crooks use identity theft to score tax refunds

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

By Lisa Rantala - bio | email
Posted by Nick Dutton - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Police say at least dozen tax filers have had their identities stolen this year from thieves who wanted their returns.

In fact, the latest victim found out her identity was stolen when her tax preparer called Monday.

Christel Burrell was expecting to get her tax return over the next two weeks.

However, she found out someone else filed a tax return under her name in Maryland using her social security number.

As a result, Burrell had to file a police report and check with the credit bureaus because her identity was compromised.

Toledo Police Department Lieutenant David Schmidt says this is the twelfth case of tax identity theft they have received so far this year. In 2010, police investigated around 30 cases.

 "Nowadays with electronic filing and submitting everything rather quickly, they found out in a short period of time, that somebody else has already used one of their social security numbers," said Schmidt.

Since the IRS does not share information with police, officials say these cases rarely lead to an arrest.

Schmidt says folks should go to reputable CPA and question businesses that offer deals and cash advances.

Additionally, Schmidt advises folks not to answer junk or spam email and make sure every website you submit your personal information on is secure. Also, do not carry social security cards and other important family information in your purse or wallet.

"I that means don't apply for car loans, Rent-A-Center, do it," said Schmidt.

Burrell admits that she has applied for a number of car loans online, but is now considering no longer carry credit and debit cards.

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