ABILENE, Texas - Criminals all over the country, including Abilene, use tax season as a time to cheat the system and cash in on other people's tax returns.
Certified Public Accountant at Davis Kinard & Co. Joe Melson said he's seen an increase in customers having their social security number stolen and used to file fake tax returns.
"They usually find out because they try to file their return, but the IRS comes back and says that the return has already been filed," said Melson.
Melson said when that happens there's only one thing you can do.
"They need to contact the IRS as soon as possible," said Melson.
Why is identity theft happening more often?
"I think people are becoming more advanced on how to get information. Whether it's electronically or just through spam emails, you know people are susceptible to that," said Melson.
Melson said anyone can be a victim.
"In this day and age I think everyone needs to be a little bit worried," said Melson.
There are ways to make yourself less likely to be targeted.
"Protect your personal information, especially your Social Security number. It's probably the hardest thing for someone to get," said Melson.
After having your social security number stolen and used on tax documents the IRS will issue you an IRS identity protection pin. Then the following year you will have to input that number to file your taxes.