2014 tax filing season raises security concerns

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - In this day and age it seems you can't escape security breaches when it comes to your financial information, but that's why before you head in to get your taxes prepared, you need to make sure security is their priority.

Business is ramping up at Liberty Tax Service in Carolina Forest. The business had 150 filings Monday alone but while folks are eager to get their refunds, you can't ignore the horrible thought of handing over your information and it behind used improperly.

"Security has always been a concern when it comes to your social security number," says Samantha Slapnik, the owner of Liberty Tax Service. "We used to be very free with that information, I can remember I checked into my college dorm using my social security but things have changed completely in the last 10 years.

In October 2012, the South Carolina Department of Revenue was hacked, and 3.6 million social security numbers were taken along with hundreds of thousands of credit cards numbers stolen. Then in December 2013, Target announced 40 million people were affected by a breach with debit card numbers stolen. Tuesday a senior official apologized for that breach. But it's a growing problem Liberty Tax says places security at their forefront.

"Our privacy policy is we can't talk to anyone unless they are on the tax return, everything is kept under lock and key and we require a picture ID from anyone filing a tax return," says Slapnik.

The IRS says e-filing is the most efficient way to get your refund, but that requires you to go on line where hackers have already proven they're pretty savvy. Filing by U.S. mail requires you to trust more hand to hand transactions, and they'll be mail sitting in the mail box.

The bottom line is there's no full proof plan when a thief is on the prowl. That's why experts say stay informed. Check your credit often. Make sure your preparer is a reputable person or firm and if you suspect something is amiss, report it immediately.

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