Tax season increases ID theft - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tax season increases ID theft

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Capt. Craig Dodd, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Capt. Craig Dodd, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office
Scott Thomlinson, Flint Community Bank President & CEO Scott Thomlinson, Flint Community Bank President & CEO
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County law enforcers report a jump in identity theft cases now that tax season is in full swing. A Dougherty County woman told police her identity may have been compromised when someone took her credit card information from her mailbox Monday.

Officers say it's the latest case in a seasonal trend.   Criminals never stop developing new ways to try to take your money.  

"If they worked half as hard at an actual career as they do at committing crimes and stealing, they could probably be millionaires," said Capt. Craig Dodd, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.   

Banks are just as vulnerable to new tricks.   "We continue to see an uptick in these fishing scams where we get emails that are suspect that appear to be one of our customers asking to wire out money, or asking for the balance in their account," said Scott Thomlinson, Flint Community Bank President & CEO.   

While banks beef up protection, improved technology threatens our security. "That's why I urge people to check their balances and accounts on a daily basis.  Check their credit at least every six months,"  said Thomlinson.  

Police say fraudulent tax preparers are proving to be one of the biggest problems this year. "If you do not know the people, do not let them do your taxes.  You gotta understand you're giving them basically your financial life," said Dodd.  

He says the criminals work out of homes or back offices, then disappear with secure information and often forward returns to their own accounts.   "We've got so many really smart people out there who don't want to work, they'd rather steal," said Dodd.  

And your mailbox, he says, can become a gold mine for crooks.   "They'll go behind the mailman, wait till he goes and over the hill or around the bend or whatever, and then just hit all of the mailboxes behind him," said Dodd.  

But monitoring your accounts, going paperless and not giving information out over the phone could keep you safe this tax season.  Financial advisors say you should review all billing statements before paying anything, and be cautious of any unusual emails or phone calls.

They urge you to notify your bank and law enforcement right away if your information has been compromised.

 

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