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Mar 5, 2013 12:10 AM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Tax return theft on the rise in Colorado Springs

Imagine going to file your taxes and finding somebody has already filed in your name and stolen your return, that's the reality for more and more people in Colorado Springs.

Last year Benjamen Trigg got a confusing message from the online site he tried to use to file his taxes, his taxes were already filed.

"I called the IRS and they confirmed that somebody had already electronically filed under my name and social a month prior to me," Trigg described.

Whoever had filed his taxes had also been sent his return which amounted to over $4,000. One year later he's still struggling to straigten things out with the IRS and get his life back in order.

"I'm stuck in tax limbo and there's nothing I can really do," he explained. "Pain, anguish, suffering, they really put a wrench in the system."

Trigg believes the thieves got his information from a fake job application website. More and more people in Colorado Springs and across the nation have been put in the same position as him. 2012 was a record year for tax return theft in the United States and in Colorado Springs.

"Unfortunately in the year 2012 the Colorado Springs metropolitan area is the number one metro area as far as fraud and identity theft," explained Blair Reeves with the Better Business Bureau.

Colorado Springs had the highest rate when the number of consumer complaints was compared to the city's population according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission. Reeves explained thieves get the information in a variety of ways, from stealing forms out of mailboxes to setting up fraudulent websites. To avoid tax return theft Reeves advised that you should always drop off returns at the post office and be cautious when using tax filing websites.

"After the fact it's a little late so make sure you contact us first," she said.

The Better Business Bureau advises that the best way to be sure nobody can steal your tax return is to file your taxes as soon as possible so thieves can't file before you.

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