HIGHLAND (CBSLA.com) — The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is warning customers of a tax preparer that they could be at risk for identity theft and fraud after a recent break-in.
Deputies responded shortly before noon Sunday to a franchise office of Liberty Tax in the 27000 block of Baseline Street on a report of a burglary.
Investigators say the suspect or suspects forced entry into the business during the early morning hours of Feb. 1 after disabling the alarm system, stealing a large number of tax files and computer towers from inside the business.
“These files and computers contain the names, addresses, personal identifying information and Social Security numbers of a currently unknown though suspected to be large number of clients,” reads a statement from the department, adding that in some cases, tax refund checks and credit card or payment information may have been stolen.
“The stolen information is likely to be used in identity theft and other types of fraud,” the statement continues.
Investigators say the suspect or suspects remain at large.
Security video released by the Sheriff’s Department shows a man wearing a mask stuffing unidentified items in his pocket and scoping out the branch.
Sheriff’s investigators are hoping someone recognizes the individual captured by surveillance cameras and reports him.
A spokesperson for Liberty Tax says they are still determining which customers have been affected, and while the computer files are encrypted, the stolen information could still be vulnerable.
Customer Devin Perkins says the uncertainty of what the thieves have and what they’ll do with the information is of great concern.
“Yeah, I definitely want to know what was taken because all my kids’ Social Security numbers are here, my information,” Perkins said. “I’ve been coming here for a year, and I thought it was safe to give them all that.”
A Sheriff’s Department spokesperson advises Liberty Tax customers to check their credit statements as regularly as possible to make sure they are not victims of fraud.