KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Do you wait until the last minute to file your taxes? A FBI Agent said don't procrastinate this year. He said the later you file the more your tax return is at risk.
Jeff Lanza warned of a scam that has crooks claiming your refund check. He said because of massive cuts this year it's a scam the IRS is less likely to be able to stop.
It's called identity theft refund fraud. With just your name and social security number Lanza said thieves file your return as you before you even know something is wrong. By the time you go to file it's too late and they've already claimed your money.
“Someone files taxes using your personal information, they get a refund, make up all the numbers, they may even go on their computer and make up fake W-2's they get a pre-paid debit card or even check from the IRS," he said.
Lanza said the sooner you file the more protected you'll be, before scammers have the chance to pose as you.
There is one way you can protect yourself. Lanza said see if you qualify for an IRS Electronic Filing PIN Number. It’s to safeguard your return and something the crooks won’t have. To qualify Lanza said you must be a possible victim of identity theft.
"For example you've had a purse stolen, a wallets missing, a burglarized, a house has been burglarized, then you can fill out this form and that will give you a pin number to file your taxes which the crook doesn't have and that will prevent you from being a victimized,” he said.
To find out if you qualify for a PIN go to: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Electronic-Filing-PIN-Request