Tax ID theft on the rise, law enforcement speaks on protecting y - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Tax ID theft on the rise, law enforcement speaks on protecting yourself

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    State agencies are reporting a rise in criminals filing with stolen personal information.
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MADISON COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

It's that time of year: tax time. However, recently, many people are filing police reports along with their taxes after their tax identity was stolen.

That's what happened to one Fredericktown, Missouri woman, and police say she's certainly not alone.

Law enforcement says tax ID theft is on the rise.

One victim says she thought she did everything right; she filed early and used a trusted site, but turns out, that wasn't enough.

"I was shocked. I live in small town Fredericktown, small town USA, this doesn't happen here, so it's like 'Are you kidding me?'" Hannah Dunnahoo said.

It was anything but a nice surprise for Madison County resident Hannah Dunnahoo.

"Filed my taxes on Thursday. Then on Friday, I got a text message alert that said my taxes were rejected,” Dunnahoo said.

She says that's because someone had stolen her social security number and already filed.

"I double and triple checked the social security numbers to make sure they were in properly and they were. I was really hoping it was an honest mistake,” Dunnahoo said.

However, there was no mistake about it. Law enforcement says tax ID theft is a crime that just keeps growing.

The Madison County sheriff says they've had nine cases of tax identity theft in the past seven days and he it's only the beginning.

"I honestly think this year I could assign one officer to it and it would keep him busy at this point,” Sheriff Bobby Spain said.

Last year, the Madison County sheriff's office received only five tax ID theft reports throughout tax season.

"Makes it hard to find who did it. It takes a lot of resources,” Sheriff Spain said.

Sheriff Spain says it's hard to determine why the boost in crime.

"I have no idea unless we can attribute it to the fact that people just put more information out there than it's ever been,” Sheriff Spain said.

He says that's something we can all do to protect ourselves.

"The less personal information you put out is better, so if you don't want people to get that information, don't make it available,” Sheriff Spain said.

The sheriff and Dunnahoo say if your social security number has been used to file taxes, it takes about 180 additional days to get your return.

For more prevention tips, click here.

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