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Tax Identity Theft on the Rise

The IRS issued $21 billion to thieves who had stolen identities in 2013. That's millions of dollars in the hands of criminals instead of tax payers. Andy Stadler has tips to help prevent it from happening to you.
Over 16 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2012, and with tax season upon us that could change the way you do your taxes.

"Identity theft is a huge problem," said Andy Stadler of Stadler & Co.

So big that the IRS issues $21 billion to thieves who had stolen identities in 2013. That's billions of dollars in the hands of criminals instead of the tax payer. It could take up to a year to get your refund check if you're a victim.

"From that point forward the IRS will issue you a special PIN number that you have to use on your tax returns from that point forward because someone has your personal information," said Stadler.

But there is something you can do to prevent the crime from happening to you. First, Andy Stadler suggests doing your taxes early, in January or February instead of waiting until the last minute. Get your taxes done by a licensed professional and ask to see their credentials. Also, do free credit reports to check any suspicious information.

"Look to see if there's a credit card listed on there or someone has looked at your credit account that you don't know anything about. See if there's a credit card on there that you don't know anything about," said Stadler.

With identity theft on the rise, Stadler says the best advice is to be aware.

"I'm going to say probably six or seven years ago was the first time I had a case of a victim of identity theft. Last year I had nearly 30."

The deadline to file your taxes is Tuesday, April 15.
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