Experts: File your taxes early to prevent being victimized by thieves

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WASHINGTON – Americans are currently working to obtain millions of dollars in tax refunds.

However, taxpayers are not the only ones trying to claim those funds.

Last year, hackers stole 6.5 million Social Security numbers, which is the first step in filing a fraudulent return in your name.

Tax return fraud isn’t new, but it is much easier and it is happening a lot more often because of the Internet.

Officials say with the right information, thieves can file a fake return and send your refund to their bank account.

Some criminals will even have the money deposited on untraceable pre-paid debit cards.

Once the money is gone, it could take more than 120 days.

The best way to protect yourself is to use every safeguard the IRS and your tax preparer provides, including the extra pin number.

If you expect to receive a refund, file as soon as possible.

The hackers usually do the most damage during the height of the filing season.

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