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Scam Season is Underway, Beware of “IRS Correspondence”
Identity thieves are on the prowl in today’s growing world of social network sites and online forums. Even conscientious consumers are becoming victims at a higher rate. Identity theft continues to be the highest reported consumer crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and has been for 17 consecutive years. The Internal Revenue Service continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security Number.
The IRS warned tax professionals earlier this month about early signs of cybercriminals already at work as tax season approaches. Fraudsters are using a new round of emails posing as potential clients or even the IRS to trick tax practitioners into disclosing sensitive information. The IRS also has received recent reports of fraudsters again posing as IRS e-Services, just one of the reasons the IRS has moved to the more secure identity-proofing process called Secure Access.
Remember, the IRS will NEVER call or e-mail you. If you appear to receive a correspondence from them, contact your tax professional.
The IRS encourages at minimum, these basic steps for protecting your data:
- Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use strong passwords.
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies and even the IRS.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
- Protect your personal data. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure.
If you believe you are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal information, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. You may also report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.
Please Note: Almost every rule has exceptions and limitations and John Kasperek Co., Inc. strongly recommends you consult a tax professional to best determine how the law affects your unique situation.