Charlotte-Mecklenburg fraud detectives have a warning -- someone may be trying to get your tax refund. It's a problem they see every year at tax season, and this year is no different.
"We've been bombarded with these types of reports," said Detective Kevin Jones as he looked over a handful of reports where people said someone had stolen their identity and used it to file tax forms.
That's exactly what happened to Jay Andrews.
"They were filed with my address, my name, my children -- myself. I know I didn't file. It wasn't me," Andrews said Thursday as he sat in his apartment in south Charlotte.
Andrews said he did not know anything was wrong until he went to file his taxes in early February and his tax preparer called to tell him that the IRS had rejected the tax return because someone had already filed using his Social Security number.
He reported the case to police and to the IRS, and had to spend five days trying to convince them that he is the real Jay Andrews.
"I did take my identification, my license, birth certificate, ID," Andrews said. "It's just nerve-wracking more than anything. Just nerve-wracking that someone would actually do this."
Police said it's a very typical scenario, and once thieves have taken your identity, they're very tough to track.
"Most people find out after they've filed their federal returns, so it could be anywhere in the United States that someone is actually filing those taxes," said Detective Jones.
Jones said that it is important to file early, to minimize the damage if someone has stolen your identity. If you do find that your information has been compromised, he said you should start by notifying the IRS.
Even getting on it early, though, may not be enough to make a quick fix.
Andrews said he had hoped to use his refund to pay for a vacation, but now will have to wait four or five months for the IRS to undo the damage and get him his refund.