RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The tax deadline is two weeks from tomorrow and criminals are trying many different ways to steal your information or even your tax returns.

CBS 17 found out it can even happen to someone whose business it is to prevent identity fraud.

When criminals get ahold of your identity, it can be a long road to recovery — just ask Christina Luttrell.

“Three years later, I just now got a report from the Department of Labor to close out the case,” said Luttrell. She is the CEO of GBG Americas (Acuant and IDology), an ID verification, authentication and fraud prevention company.

“It took a really long time to get this thing cleared up,” she said.” “I’ve had to deal with some issues because of it over the past three years.”

Luttrell’s ID was stolen during the pandemic through an unemployment fraud scheme going around at the time.

“You feel so vulnerable,” Luttrell said. “It takes a really long time to get everything cleared up.”

Now, tax filing season is here once again and it’s prime time for criminals to steal your identity.

They do that by trying to beat you to the punch.

“If someone has compromised your identity, they will file very early in the tax season,” said Luttrell. “When you go to file, you get a notification that your refund has already been issued or this filing has already occurred.”

To prevent that don’t wait until April 15 to file.

Luttrell recommends setting up a 6-digit IRS identity PIN number ahead of time.

“It will prevent someone else from filing a tax return under your Social Security number or your taxpayer identification number,” she said.

You also need to vet the person or company doing your taxes. Make sure they are listed on the IRS website as an approved preparer.

There are other steps you can take too. They are called best practices.

“Number one, freeze your credit report,” said Luttrell. “Make sure that you put a freeze on your credit report so that no one else can go in and create accounts using your information.”

She also warns against clicking on links that you get in emails that you weren’t expecting.

Phishing emails and texts are the number one way that scammers get access to your information.

If you find you’ve been victimized by tax ID fraud, there is a specific form called an ID Theft Affidavit you must file with the IRS. You can find a link to it here.