Heather Black

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Video: Columbus Woman Becomes Victim of Tax Fraud

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-If you’ve ever been a victim of identity theft then you know the painful process of restoring your personal information and funds. Now, some thieves are going a step further by using your personal information to gain access to your tax refund.

“You never really think that it will happen to you. You know it’s just unbelievable,” says Erica Clayton.

Erica Clayton was excited to get a head start on filing her 2013 Federal Taxes online through H&R Block, but the excitement quickly vanished.

“About 15 minutes later after everything was completed I got an email saying that the IRS rejected your federal tax return,” says Clayton.

Despite being unemployed in 2012, the IRS informed Clayton that taxes were filed for that fiscal year using her name and social security number.

“I was able to pull my tax transcript and actually see where someone actually earned wages using my name and social security number it was just a different address,” says Clayton.

“This is an area that the IRS is really beefed up on the last few years to help prevent this,” says Patrick Davidson.

Certified public accountant, Patrick Davidson, at Davidson and Company, PLLC in Columbus urges individuals to keep their personal information secure, especially when you receive an email from the IRS.

“You will not get an email from the IRS they do not send emails to people they will not call you. You will always receive correspondence from them through the mail first,” says Davidson.

Even though the person who stole Clayton’s identity is still walking around, she hopes the IRS will find the person behind the crime.

Until then, she wants others to safe guard their information so tax fraud doesn’t happen to them.

“It’s so hard to tell and it’s so hard to just give a definite list of everything you need to do because even…and I thought I was doing my best as far as keeping my personal info out of the way where others could possibly see it but it could be anyone,” says Clayton.

The IRS informed Clayton it may take up to six months before she receives her tax refund.