Filing taxes sooner helps prevent identity theft

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Updated: Feb. 7, 2020 at 7:41 AM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With tax season underway we're finding out why you may want to consider filing early this year.

GMET’s Brennon Gurley talked with an East Texas CPA who says it could keep your information safer.

You have to guard your personal information at all costs,” explains Juan Martinez, CPA and Financial Advisor, Martinez CPA.

The IRS says there were more than 600,000 fraudulent tax returns in 2018. This totaled more than $3 billion dollars in refunds.

We often see a lot of folks that come in with problems. Their tax return is being delayed and when we reach out to the IRS, we find out they are being a victim of fraud,” explains Martinez.

Accountants like Martinez say they see it in their practice. “Unfortunately, it’s very common. Its more common than people realize.”

Tax experts say a common scam consists of thieves getting a hold of someone’s social security number, then filing a return early, and cashing in the refund.

The IRS will stay pay you your refund even if it was stolen by ID thefts, but it can take up to six months to set the record straight.

Don’t hand out your W2′s don’t hand out your pay stubs or anything to someone to you don’t trust,” says Martinez.

Martinez says be alert and keep an eye on your personal information.

The moment that your social security number is used then that closes the window for that year, for that number,” explains Martinez.

Financial professionals say it’s important to not procrastinate, so you can beat identity thieves to the punch.

Everything in place then by all means file early so that way you’ll definitely be in an advantage position if someone else is trying to get your information.”

That’s why Martinez is encouraging taxpayers to be cautious of phone calls, letters demanding responses and requesting your personal information.

I think one of the things that every individual owes to themselves, to their families, basically everyone, is to protect their personal information.”

The last day to file your taxes is April 15th.

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