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Thieves could use tax season to steal your identity

Thieves could use tax season to steal your identity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Tax season is just weeks away, and with it comes the threat of identity theft.

Tom Baltuskonis, with Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, said the IRS has seen a rise in people filing fake tax returns. They get a Social Security number and file for that person. So it's important for you to protect your data.

Baltuskonis said if you're filing online, don't do it from a public computer. Do it from a browser you trust and close it immediately after you're done. He suggests making sure your computer has the right protection tools.

"You want to have some antivirus software, keep it up to date on your computer," he said. "Have a firewall."

Even filing the old-fashioned way doesn't guarantee your safety. Baltuskonis said in the office they do everything they can to keep your information safe, like having an encrypted system and guarding all paperwork in locked cabinets. But he said ultimately, protecting personal data is the tax-filer's responsibility. If you're going to an office, take only the necessary paperwork. Don't leave paperwork lying around and destroy it once you're done using it.

"Anything that has a Social Security number on it or even your address, go ahead and shred it when you're done with it," he said. "Don't leave it laying around, don't just crinkle it up and throw it in the garbage, because there are people who go through the garbage."

Tom Baltuskonis is KRDO Newschannel13'S Tax Pro. Every Saturday during tax season, he answers viewers' tax questions on the weekend edition of Good Morning Colorado at 8 am.

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