CLEVELAND - You know what's worse than filing your tax return? Learning someone already did using your name and social security number to grab an illegal refund.
Last year, the IRS identified more than 1.8 million tax-related ID thefts. The agency expects that number to increase this year.
The IRS has expanded criminal enforcement efforts, collaborated with 130 financial institutions to prevent ID theft and improved screening filters.
Prevention starts at home. You don't have to hang onto financial records forever. The IRS suggests keeping returns for three years. Then, trash them. Annual IRA and retirement account statements should be kept permanently.
Banking records can generally be tossed every year, unless they're tied to a business or investment. Utility bills and other accounts involving canceled checks can also be pitched annually, unless the check is tied to an item that is insured such as jewelry, cars and homes.
If you have documents that need to be destroyed, bring them to the annual 5 On Your Side Shred-It event on April 27.
- Lorain County Community College – 1005 N. Abbe Rd. in Elyria - Lot 8 (Abbe / North Drive)
- Fifth Third Bank Pleasant Valley branch – 7414 Broadview Rd. - Parma
- Fifth Third Bank in Willowick – 30160 Lakeshore Blvd.
Trucks from Shred-it will be at all three locations from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., or until the trucks fill. There is a limit of three bags or boxes.
The 5 On Your Side Investigators will be at each location helping you destroy your documents.