Anyone can fall victim to crime in the form of fraud.  Although you may think you’re safe because you take all the necessary precautions to protect your identity, one security breach to your tax service could force you to shift your focus and think about saving your finances. According to a WSBTV.com article, nearly 60 Georgia residents have been left with a sense of panic, trying to recover from a local break-in.

Identity fraud is sweeping through Paulding County, outside Atlanta, Georgia.  Officials are assisting a local accounting/tax preparation services company after a break in that brought their worst nightmares to life, leaving dozens of clients scrambling to save their financials.  The article report the thieves broke into the company facilities and stole computers that contained firms clients’ personal identity information. (This could happen to anyone.) As a follow up to the crime, dozens of clients already have reported that someone has filed requests for tax refunds their names. (What a surprise.  Credit reports will help monitor some of this, but they probably will never know if their identity is used for unemployment or food stamp fraud.   It doesn’t always stop at tax refunds.) The question from the clients remains: “Why did it take four months to let us know of the breach?”

A son of the company owners explained:  “All of the information was on the computers, so it took us a little bit of time to get things going.”  A client expressed anguish about being notified about the crime in March, when it had taken place in December:  “White collar crime is insidious.”  He went on to express his concerns about the Social Security numbers of his children, also on the account. (He should be concerned – criminals don’t take kids into consideration.  Ammo is ammo.) Officials with the local police report the number of victims continues to grow every day.  While tracking the victims’ growth is easy, officials are baffled at the difficulty in bringing order to the crime, as there are no real suspects or signs indicating how this happened at this time.  As investigations continue, the owners’ concern of how many clients will be affected grows. (I can tell you how many are affected – ALL OF THEM.)

It’s scary to think that just the swiping of one computer could wreak havoc to your financial stability and your identity.  You can take every precaution in the book to protect yourself and your family and still fall victim to white collar crime.

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