SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - As a politician, Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos is used to the criticisms that often target people in high places. But now, Galambos has become a target of something else: identity thieves.
"Unbelievable," she told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik. "I think now it can happen to anybody and my advice is stay alert."
Galambos told Petchenik her accountant went to file her taxes last week, and the return was rejected because someone had already used her Social Security number to file their own taxes.
"It's not just that I've lost my privacy and my security in terms of my credit, but I'm angry," she said.
Galambos said she's angry that the IRS didn't flag the fraudulent return when it was filed because she said she's lived at the same address for more than 20 years.
"The IRS is sending out refund checks like crazy to people without checking whether they're really justified," she said.
Galambos told Petchenik she has no idea where someone got her Social Security number, but she feels she may have been targeted because of her position.
"That may be why they knew my name and address, because it's available through the Internet," she said.
Sandy Springs crime prevention officer Larry Jacobs said fraud like this occurs when people give out their Social Security numbers in situations in which they should not.
"Be very careful about who and when you give your Social Security number out to," he said. "If you do have to write your Social Security number down, find out what their security procedures are, find out why they need it."
Jacobs said if the information you give out isn't secured properly, it can get into the wrong hands.
"There are places on the Internet. There's chat rooms where scammers share information," he said. "Your stuff is bought and sold on the Internet every day."