Jonesboro seeing uptick in tax return fraud

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - At least sixteen Arkansas State University employees have experienced tax return fraud and Jonesboro Police is currently investigating three reports of tax fraud just this week.

ASU is telling their employees to take preventative security measures when filing their tax returns. Len Frey, vice chancellor for finance, said they don't know who obtained their personal information or how it was obtained. ASU has notified the IRS and is investigating the situation.

Three reports were filed with Jonesboro Police that involved someone's tax return being filed by someone else after obtaining their social security number. Rhonda Prine, office manager at Liberty Tax Service, said there are ways you can make sure your information doesn't end up in the wrong hands.

"Don't discard anything without either burning it or shredding it," Prine said. "Make sure that nothing is intact with your information on it into your trash because trash isn't something most people think about but I think that's where a lot of people get the information."

Rhonda Prine said she has seen numerous fraud cases in the 7 years she's been in the business.

"Usually it will come back as an error,"Prine said. "From the IRS site when a return is sent in that someone has already used that social security number so at that time."

Prine says to committ tax return fraud, a person would only need to know your social security number and date of birth.Most people choose the convenience of online tax services to file their return, but they should take necessary precautions like changing passwords, and making sure to have an anti virus and firewall.

Prine says most tax firms will ask for your social security numbers and a picture ID to verify your identity. The IRS can also issue you a pin number.

"You want to protect anything that has your social security number on it, Prine said."

"Check your credit report every 12 months and, keep an eye on your credit cards and your checking account, see if there are charges that you don't recognize and act on it and make phone calls, it is your money."

Veronica Smith has more information on tax return fraud tonight on Region 8 News at 6 and 10.

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