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Tax season opens door to identity theft

PHOENIX -- Tax season means a higher threat of identity theft with personal information being shipped online and by regular mail.

Becky Frost with Experian's ProtectMyID said identity thieves are filing other people's tax return using the stolen personal info. When the taxpayer goes to file the legitimate return, it is kicked back with the notification the forms have already been submitted.

It can take months or years to resolve the issue with the Internal Revenue Service.

"All it takes is a W-2, a 1040 form or any other form that contains your info," she said. "A criminal has a wealth of info to carry out ID theft."

Frost said the IRS has received more than 600,000 complaints from people who have been victimized this year.

Stolen smartphones are a goldmine for thieves because of the personal and financial info stored on the phone. For example, tax apps. People will snap a pic of the W-2 and not delete it.

"So you have a photo of all of your sensitive information including your Social Security number," said Frost. "Make sure you delete these pictures after you've used them for tax-app purposes."

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.

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