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Local couple becomes victims of tax fraud, prompting safety when filing

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - David Swald, of Rome, is now a victim of identity theft.

After his taxes got rejected, he thought he just did something wrong, but when they kept being rejected and he got two tax refunds in the mail, he realized someone had filed for taxes in his and his wife's name.

Swald says that whoever did this either made a mistake when filing for direct deposit or closed the account, because the paper checks were sent back to Swald's address.

One of those checks was for more than $8,000 and another was for just less than $10,000. Had the perpetrator completed the scam correctly, those amounts would have been deposited in someone else's account other than Swald's.

"Somehow they got both our social security numbers. They've got all of our employment information. They've got our mailing information, every possible thing you could think of, they were able to get," says Swald.

Accountant Jo Ann Golden says that with the Internet, identity theft is happening more than ever, but there are some things people can do to prevent being victims, including being careful who you give three key pieces of information out to.

"One is your social security number," says Golden. "...Your mother's maiden name, also passwords to things, whatever you need your password to get into."

Golden says identity theft isn't just online, and that you still have to be careful with the paper part. She recommends shredding bills from any company before putting them in the trash.

Another tip is to look for "https" at the beginning of a web address. Golden says that extra 's' means the website is secure.

Knowing he had become a victim of identity theft, Swald immediately filed an affidavit form through the IRS, but that doesn't make him worry or wonder any less.

"The only problem that I have is that you're not going to get the information. They're not going to tell you what's going on other than it's been resolved," says Swald. "You still have no clue who did it, where they're located. For all I know, they're my next door neighbor."

Swald has to wait 6 to 9 months now to file his and his wife's taxes as the investigation continues.

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