Do your taxes early to avoid losing your return to hackers

Updated: Jan. 19, 2018 at 7:26 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Experts are warning that if you procrastinate this year, you're putting yourself at risk. Recent data breaches can leave your tax refund in the wrong hands.

The IRS starts accepting returns Monday, Jan. 29. This year, experts say we will likely see a boom in tax fraud, thanks to the Equifax hack and thieves making off with the Social Security Numbers of more than 145 million Americans.

Last year, in just the first five months of 2017, more than 100,000 people learned that someone had filed a phony return using their Social Security Number in order to steal the refund. The IRS then rejects the real return and investigates.

That means any refund you should be getting could be delayed for months. You then have a real mess to clean up, thanks to the identity theft.

Filing early also helps you get your refund faster, since you'll beat millions of other taxpayers to the punch.

If you owe the IRS, it helps to have some time to figure out a strategy for paying off that tax bill. Your best move is to get organized now and get those taxes filed early.

Most Americans qualify for the "Free File" program through the IRS.

Copyright 2018 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12