Sunday, February 17, 2013
It's tax season and police say it's also the time when thieves steal people's identities and their tax returns.
Police say basically all someone needs is your name and social security number and they can steal your return before you even file your taxes.
Last year when Robert Montgomery filed his taxes, he had already planned out where his family's tax return would be spent.
“All the money was allocated and ready. A lot of people do depend on tax returns to help them get caught up help them get ahead and whenever you're running on a lower income, that really makes a lot of difference,” Robert Montgomery said.
But the morning after he filed, he got a call.
"They call and say your tax return's been denied for duplicate return,” Montgomery said.
Someone had filed a tax return using Montgomery’s name, social security number, and date of birth.
"There are no words to describe what's going through you're head when you find something like this out,” Montgomery said.
Wichita police say income tax identity theft is a problem they see every year and right now, they're getting new cases every day.
"People applying, doing their 2012 income tax return and then they find out in 2011 somebody used their social security number,” Lt. Clark Wiemeyer with the Wichita Police Department said.
The IRS advises the best way to protect yourself is to protect your social security number. Don't carry anything with your number on it and don't give it out to businesses.
Robert Montgomery says it took months to get his return and get everything straightened out. Now he and his family are vigilant about protecting their information.
"You know you think its over but there's still backlash because you want to know where that person got it from. You're 20 times more careful with your information, my wallet her wallet it doesn't leave our sight,” Montgomery said.
The Montgomery family says now to protect themselves and their tax return, the IRS sends them an identification number that changes every year. Their taxes cannot be filed without that number.