It is tax season and that means it is prime time for scammers to dip into your hard earned money.
Whether you're getting ready to file or already have, there's still a chance you could become the target of a scam.
Tons of information, including social security numbers, are being processed every day so you run the risk of becoming a victim. Problem is, these scams are becoming more elaborate and sophisticated every year.
"There's a lot of fraud out there that you have to be careful about," said Roanoke City Police Detective JM Donelson.
Donelson heads up the white collar crimes unit at the police department and is a member of the Roanoke Valley Fraud Association.
"If all that money is flowing, they are going to find a way to get it," he said.
Donelson urges people to not wait until the last minute to file.
"Once you get your W-2's you immediately file as quick as you can because if someone gets that information and files they will send a check to them not to you."
Crystal Livesay stopped at Liberty Tax Service in Roanoke to pick up her check on Thursday because she knows the horrors of scams all too well.
"I'm actually in the middle of identity theft, but it had nothing to do with the taxes," she said.
Experts are seeing more emails and websites that appear to be legitimate this year. Bottom line is the IRS will never ask you for personal information online, but it's not always the Internet you should be weary of they said.
"A big one this year is where people are doing peoples taxes and they are getting the refunds deposited in their own bank account,” said Phillip Smith.
Smith is the assistant supervisor at Liberty Tax along Williamson Road.
Whether you choose to do it in person or online, he said don't be afraid to ask questions or do a little homework before filing for that check.
"I have seen it quite often this year,” he said about the scam.
“It's really starting to increase here in the Roanoke Valley where identity theft is becoming a much bigger thing around here,” he added.
Detective Donelson said you'd be surprised at just how many people walk out to their mailbox to find their refunds have been taken by a stranger.
AARP outlines more scams HERE.
Liberty Tax Service in Roanoke said it is doing its part to give back to the community this tax season by offering services for free, if it's your first time.
If it's not your first time, you get half off of your services.
The owner told WDBJ 7 appreciation weeks are the least they can do during this hectic time.
Below are the following times you can file your taxes:
Feb 17-Feb 23: Military/Vet Appreciation Week
Feb 24-March 2: Teacher Appreciation Week
March 3- March 9: Police and Fire fighter Appreciation Week