Filing tax return early could protect from ID theft - WFLA News Channel 8

Filing tax return early could protect from ID theft

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At the start of the new tax filing season, some taxpayers are heeding warnings to file early to foil identity thieves in the massive tax refund fraud scheme.

"We had people lined up at the door today when we opened," said Jeremiah Greer, an office manager for the Jackson Hewitt Tax Service offices in Gulfport.

Even before the first day of filing on Jan. 30, about 175 taxpayers had already turned in their returns at the office, to make sure they were part of the first batch to go out.  All the returns sent so far have gone through, Greer said.

Some of the early filers just wanted to get their tax refunds as soon as possible, but others were specifically concerned about beating the fraudsters to the finish line, Greer said. After one return is accepted under a certain identity, a second one using that same name and social security number would be blocked.

"It's definitely a race to get in there and get your tax return filed as soon as possible to prevent that from happening," Greer said.

Natasha Moultrie said she turned in her return several weeks ago, and checked back with the office today to make sure it went through.

"It's a lot of identity theft stuff going on and I didn't want to get caught up in all of that because I'm sure it's really hard for people to get out of that type of situation," she said.

Moultrie said she's counting on her refund to pay bills, buy a car and take her mother "somewhere nice."

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