(WKRG, MOBILE, ALABAMA)
From the gas pump to your pin number, there are many ways you could lose your personal information. The Federal Trade Commission has loads of videos, tips and horror stories designed to help you guard your info. This week the Alabama department of revenue began touting an online affidavit you can file electronically if you discover you are the victim of ID theft.
“The identity theft can occur months and months earlier than the taxpayer really knows,” said State Commissioner of Revenue Julie Magee. I talked with the state commissioner of revenue via Skype Tuesday morning.
“Your social security number is unfortunately exposed all over the place I would count on every one of us to be a victim at one point or time due to the massive number of breaches,” said Magee. The online form can cut down the amount of time it takes to correct ID theft, but the goal is not to be a victim in the first place. While a lot of people think of card skimmers, the most common way people discover their identity is stolen is when they e-file their taxes. Magee argues the IRS and others have pushed for e-filing returns without proper safeguards in place.
“Unfortunately due to our push for electronic filing we have not enacted standards we should have enacted years ago to prevent the id theft from occurring in the first place,” said Magee. In 2012, the FTC reported Alabama had the 10th highest ID theft rate in the nation. This past year, Alabama dropped to 30th even though the number of ID thefts barely changed.
“It goes to show we’re not wasting dollars in our efforts and we’re sending the criminals to other states,” said Magee.