Identity thieves target your tax refund - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Identity thieves target your tax refund

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Uncle Sam isn't the only one who wants our money during tax season.  Thieves do too.  Tax-related identity theft is a growing problem affecting more than a half a million Americans last year alone. That includes more than a hundred people in the Ladysmith area.

It's a good idea to go over your tax forms for filing and make sure your information is accurate.  Filing now will not only give you a head start on your refund, it's also the best way to prevent anyone else from stealing it.

Otherwise, if a thief files first using your stolen information they get your money.

"Then you would get a notice that would indicate that a tax return has already been filed with that taxpayer's name and identification number.  That's when you really find out that you've been compromised," says Principal at Bauman Associates Sam Stagliano.

If that happens, you can file a fraudulent tax return claim with the IRS and restore your identity eventually recovering your tax refund.

Here's another tip: be wary of any e-mail asking for personal information.  That's one way thieves can get access to your tax refund.

As for employees of Weathershield in Ladysmith whose tax information was stolen; The IRS, FBI and Secret Service are still investigating.

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