Illinois’ tax agency warns of tax time identity theft

(Illinois News Network) -- You wouldn't leave a couple of hundred dollars cash just lying around, so why would you leave your personal information just lying around for tax scammers?

With tax time comes scam time. And the Illinois Department of Revenue is warning people about keeping personal information safe this tax filing season.

Terry Horstman, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Revenue, said personal information is very valuable this time of year. He said people need to protect themselves as they look to file their taxes online.

"Using security software with firewall and anti-virus protection," Horstman said are some of the best tips to keep your information safe. "Be aware of phishing emails and phone scams that attempt to trick people out of information and money. Treat personal information as you would cash, and don't leave it lying around."

Horstman said the scams are constantly changing.

"The most important thing to do is to safeguard your information. Don't give out your information to people that seem questionable," he said. "It's almost a cat-and-mouse game that we continue to work to detect and prevent."

Revenue officials said anti-fraud efforts and personal information security on their end is one of the reasons it takes about a month to get a tax refund from the state.

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