MEDFORD (WAOW) -- Every year millions of Americans are victims of identity theft.
"It's a big hassle. This year is higher than ever before," Tax preparer Fuzz Damm said.
According to the IRS it takes the average victim hundreds of dollars and hours of work to repair the damages.
"Things get blocked, rejected, looked over harder than ever before. They are going to be effected in future years not just a one time thing," Damm said.
Some people know firsthand the consequences of identity theft. Like some current and former employees of Weather Shield in Medford.
"People don't know its happening until they come in and do their tax returns and its rejected," Damm said.
Back in April, Weather Shield announced some personal information had been stolen from its employees, and was being used to file false tax returns. It's not clear who did that. But, a company spokesperson said they don't believe it happened inside the company.
"The letter they sent out is very loosely worded. They are not being specific or claiming liability," Damm said. Damm and his financial group say they have personally dealt with roughly a dozen employees facing the same fate.
So, what can you do if you become a victim of identity theft? We asked the experts.
First, tax preparer Fuzz Damm says immediately file a police report. Then, report it to the IRS. Next, he says file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. And finally, contact your credit agency.
"Be careful with your information," Damm advises. "In this world all they need is your social security number, name, address and there you go."
Weather Shield employees declined to talk on camera. But, a spokesperson says the matter is still under investigation.
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, head to IRS web site for some helpful tips and ways to stay safe. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=252507,00.html