Columbus criminals use new tactic to steal sensitive information - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus criminals use new tactic to steal sensitive information

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Although this year's tax deadline is a few weeks behind us, tax fraud continues to affect people in the Valley.

Danielle Wallace, 36, pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges this week for her alleged involvement in a nearly $500,000 scam.

Another well known case made headlines earlier this year when owners of Tax Time tried to get away with $2 million, for allegedly filing more than 2,000 fraudulent tax returns.

"We suspect the suspects in this case, would take those documents, then add additional documents to it to increase the person's refund amount, and then they would take a large percentage of that for their preparation fee," said Chief Josh Waites, with the Georgia Department of Revenue in 2014.

We've been warning our viewers all season to be cautious with unreliable pop up tax businesses, however a suspect in the most recent major case of fraud in our area used a different tactic to steal.

Danielle Wallace pleaded guilty in court this week for stealing information from Blue Cross Blue Shield clients. Wallace allegedly worked for the company and took customers' sensitive information over the phone. Officials say Wallace then used that information to file false tax returns.

"Every business is particularly responsible for treating your information with respect," said Leonard Crain, CEO of the Columbus Better Business Bureau. However that's not the end of things, "Understand that even the company can't protect itself from criminals," said Crain.

Crain explained that in this situation, being vigilant with your credit score, tax information and bank accounts can help minimize chances of being a victim to a business' internal security breach. 

He also encourages people to never give out your social security number or other sensitive information to an incoming call or e-mail. Crain adds that you shouldn't be afraid to be rude in order to avoid being a scam victim.

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