Amanda Taylor, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Carlus Martin never expected the bombshell that followed her dropping off her tax papers.
"The tax preparer called me two days later and said my taxes had been rejected," Carlus Martin said.
The preparer told her someone else claimed her children, Joshua and Xavier, on their taxes for the child tax credit.
"It was like my heart just dropped," Martin said. "I didn't know what was going on. I was scared. I was nervous."
Martin keeps Joshua and Xavier's social security cards locked away and saID she doesn't know how or who could've gotten a hold of the information.
The IRS told Martin she now had to prove the children were hers, mailing off a list of information along with her taxes, delaying her return and the family's plans.
"We had plans to do things for spring break and we weren't able to do anything. That really hurt me," Martin said. "I think I cried for two days. My baby even cried at school because he didn't understand how someone could do something like this."
Her main concern has now turned to identity theft.
"If somebody is using their social security for something then, that doesn't give them a chance when they get started to have to apply for credit or student loan," Martin said.
And she believes she's not alone. So she called News 9 for help.
"I watch Amanda Taylor all the time and I see what happens when the news gets involved," Martin said. "Sometimes it kind of lights a fire under people."
And she may not be alone.
The IRS said this is a fairly common problem, especially involving couples who divorce. With Martin, she said she's the only person who's ever claimed her sons. And the IRS said every circumstance is different, so your best defense against identity theft is check your credit report regularly.
You can get one free report per year from each agency at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1.877.322.8228.
You can also contact the credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on you and your children's information.