IRS identity theft cases increase across St. Louis area - KMOV.com

IRS identity theft cases increase across St. Louis area

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Identify fraud is a big concern when it comes to filing taxes, and for good reason. More cases of IRS identity theft are popping up across the region.

"It's one of those things you hear about, but you never think it's going to happen to you," said Lori Sommer, a victim of identity theft.

When Lori Sommer tried to file her taxes a few weeks ago she received a concerning response.

"Right away I got an email back that it was rejected due to someone else filing a tax return using my social security number," Sommer said.  She is one of 33 victims in Maryland Heights alone.

Det. Sean Fanning with the Maryland Heights Police Department receives several reports a day.

"The numbers are higher than they were last year and I suspect that it's going to get worse before it gets better," Fanning said.

The Creve Coeur Police Department is also dealing with a large amount of tax fraud. It has people wondering what they can do to protect themselves.

"I mean we've done everything right and it still happened and it could happen to anyone," said Sommer.

"Many of these victims, they didn't do anything wrong. It's the hacks, it’s the breaches, those folks are getting better," Fanning added.

These scams won't likely end with tax season, so police urge everyone to remain on guard.

If you are a victim, contact police. They will have you fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit.

Here are a few tips to avoid tax identity theft:

  • Mail tax returns as early in the tax season as possible before the cons beat you to it
  • Don't give out personal information unless you know who's asking for it and why they need it
  • Shred personal and financial documents

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