DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Kevin Spurgeon and girlfriend Stacy Lamm thought they were ahead of the game. They filed their taxes early. But it was all for naught.
“Three days later I get a phone call saying I need to come up there, there’s something wrong,” said Spurgeon.
Spurgeon’s return was already filed and his refund was on hold until further review by the Internal Revenue Service.
“I was upset, I was terribly upset because for one I was thinking of all the things we were going to do for our son,” said Spurgeon.
It’s tax season and that means scammers are trying to cash in on your return.
According to the IRS, fake returns cost the government billions of dollars every year. According to a government report, last year $14.59 billion in ID theft refund fraud was attempted and the IRS paid at least $2.24 billion in fraudulent returns.
Tax consultant Eric Hoefnagel has worked for the IRS for 25 years. He said tax return ID theft is a huge problem.
“Sometimes it becomes a very lengthy process, it might take 6 months, it might take a year, might take a year and a half to figure out,” said Hoefnagel.
He said there are two types of tax return ID theft.
The first is when someone steals your identity to steal your return. The second is when someone gets a job using your information.
The victim is then on the hook to pay taxes on wages they never earned.
“That is one of the hardest one to overcome,” said Hoefnagel.
Hoefnagel said to make sure your preparer is registered on irs.gov, triple check the information on your return is correct and get a copy of your return after you sign it.
He also said one of the easiest low-tech ways to protect yourself is to shred your personal information before throwing it away.
“That’s 100 percent security,” said Hoefnagel.
Why you should get a CP05 notice? (A notice that tells you that IRS is reviewing the tax return.)