Defend your tax return: File early! - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Defend your tax return: File early!

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The Internal Revenue Service is dealing with an onslaught of fraudulent tax returns.

The troubles can be traced back to last year's data security breaches, where millions of Social Security numbers ended up in the hands of identity thieves.

The thieves are using those numbers to file fake returns and get other people's tax refunds.

"In most cases, we're hearing that they're e-filing. They're just doing this in bulk, massive amounts of returns, and they know a lot of these are going to get rejected, they're going to be caught by the IRS," says CNBC's Kelli Grant.

Grant says taxpayers should take comfort that many are being caught by the IRS, and that more security measures are in place this year to detect the real return from a fake one.

Unfortunately, individuals can't do much to prevent fraud except file before the thief does.

"Try to get all of that done so that as soon as you have all of your W-2s, 1099s, all of that in hand, you can file right away," Grant says.

Related coverage:
Tax changes ahead for 2016
Online software makes filing taxes easier
Cal Poly to provide free tax preparation to the community

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