TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - You still have until April 18 to file your taxes, but there's new evidence that procrastinating is bad for your bottom line. Our Call 11 For Action Team is investigating fraud involving tax returns and taxpayer ID.
Whether you do it yourself or use a tax provider, the local Better Business Bureau office said you should file as soon as possible. They've been counseling local victims of tax filing fraud and say all the crook needs is your social security number.
"They invent a new identity for you and they invent income and all this other information so that the IRS doesn't know," said Dick Eppstein of the BBB.
He said the IRS doesn't know your address, so someone could file a return for you and have the refund sent to them. In one example, a Toledo man this year received notification his return was filed, but his refund was sent to Georgia.
Eppstein said the government has been trying to prevent tax return theft, but scammers are still getting around them.
The good news? You can still straighten out the tax nightmare but you have to contact the IRS immediately and do what they say. Don't miss one step.
"If you can demonstrate to the IRS that it wasn't you and give them whatever proof that they need, my experience from talking to consumers is that they do get their refunds," said Eppstein. "They're a little frustrated because they had planned for that money sooner but the point is they do get their refund."
Eppstein said it generally takes up to a month and a half to get your real refund if you are a victim of this scam.
It is National Consumer Protection Week - Click here for great tips from the Federal Trade Commission on how to protect your money and credit.