Tax season is here, but as you get ready to file and await your return, be alert.
"It is up to the consumer and the owner of that credit card, the owner of that social security number to know what's going on with it, to monitor it, and to make sure that it's safe," Janna Kiehl, CEO of the local Better Business Bureau said.
According to the Department of Treasury, tax related identity theft affected 1.8 million people in 2012, and the numbers continue to rise.
"Perhaps the unique way that it manifests itself in tax work is somebody will file a fradulent tax return on someone else's social security number, trying to get a refund back," Sam Lovelady, a CPA with Lovelady, Christy + Associates said.
Lovelady says you may be alerted to this type of identity theft if you go to file and find someone already has using your social security number.
Also, he recommends that you watch out for correspondance from the IRS. If it includes incorrect employment information, your identity may have been stolen.
If you see these red flags, what do you do next?
"The first order of business is to file this form, 14039 with the IRS to say hey, I'm concerned about this. And that starts the wheels in motion," Lovelady said, "That doesn't cost the taxpayer. Iit costs us all in terms of theft from the governement,"
Lovelady also says check with credit agencies to make sure the problem has not gone further than your taxes. The good news, you should eventually get your return, but it may take some time and paperwork.
For more tips on how to protect your identity and your return, click here.