Category Archives: Identity Theft

Protect Tax Data, Keep All Sensitive Tax Data Safe

The IRS Warns Taxpayers to Protect Tax Data and Keep All Sensitive Tax Data Safe

Did you know that when you protect tax data it will help with your future filings, amended returns and audits? Not to mention protect your identity, as well?

Since we all are heading in tax season soon, the IRS wants all taxpayers to be aware as to how long to keep tax returns and other supporting documents.
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What Is In Your Wallet? Part 4

What's in your walletWhat is in your wallet or purse can make a big difference if it is stolen. Besides the credit cards and whatever cash or valuables you might be carrying, you also need to be concerned about your identity being stolen, which is a far more serious problem. Thieves can use your identity to set up phony bank accounts, take out loans, file bogus tax returns and otherwise invade your finances, and all an identity thief needs to be able to do these things is your name, Social Security number, and birth date.

Think about it, what’s in your wallet?

Most things you carry in your wallet, contribute to your identity. Your driver’s license has two of the three keys to your identity, your birth date and your address. If you also carry your Social Security card or Medicare card, bingo! An identity thief then has all the information he needs.

You can always cancel stolen credit cards or close compromised bank and charge accounts. Oh, but when someone steals your identity and opens accounts you don’t know about, you can’t take any action until it is too late.

So if you carry your Social Security card along with your driver’s license, reconsider that habit for identity-safety purposes.

What You Should NEVER Do:

Never provide financial information over the phone, via the Internet or by e-mail unless you are absolutely sure of with whom you are dealing. That includes:

  • Social Security Number – Always resist giving your Social Security number to anyone. The more firms or individuals who have it, the greater the chance it can be stolen.
  • Birth Date – Your birth date is frequently used as a cross check with your Social Security number. A combination of birth date and Social Security number can open many doors for ID thieves. Is your birth date posted on social media? Take it down. That goes for your children, as well.
  • Bank Account and Bank Routing Numbers – These along with your name and address will allow thieves to tap your bank accounts. To counter this threat, many banks now provide automated e-mails alerting you to account withdrawals and deposits. However, if you do get an email alerting you to contact the bank. Back out of the email, and call your bank directly from the banks website, not the email phone number provided, as this is could be a phishing scam.
  • Credit/Debit Card Numbers – Be especially cautious with these numbers, since they provide thieves with easy access to your accounts.

There are individuals whose sole intent is to steal your identity and sell it to others. Limit your exposure by minimizing the number of charges and credit card accounts you have. The more accounts that have your information, the greater the chances of it being stolen. Do not think all the big firms are safe; there have been several high-profile database breaches in the last year.

Are You Concerned About Scams, Tax Identity Theft and the Tactics Used To Steal Your Taxes?

You should be! At Worthtax, we want you to be aware that what’s in your wallet is used by identity thieves to scam you, especially when it comes to your tax refunds. If you have not received your refund, and you believe you may have become a victim of tax identity theft, visit our Tax Identity Theft Information Center or call Alex Franch, BS EA at 781.849.7200. He can help you with the paper work involved to restore your right identity with the IRS. We have locations in Quincy, Weymouth and Dedham.

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Scams: Identify, Avoid Them! Part 2

Don't be fooled by scams!Scams are constantly popping up. Thieves use taxpayers’ natural fear of the IRS and other government entities, including email and phone scams, to steal your money. They also use phishing schemes to trick you into divulging your SSN, date of birth, account numbers, passwords and other personal data that allow them to scam the IRS and others using your name and destroy your credit in the process. They are clever and are always coming up with new and unique schemes to trick you.

These scams have reached epidemic proportions, and this article will hopefully provide you with the knowledge to identify scams and avoid becoming a victim.

The very first thing you should be aware of is that the IRS never initiates contact in any other way than by U.S. mail. So if you receive an email or a phone call out of the blue with no prior contact, then it is a scam. DO NOT RESPOND to the email or open any links included in the email. If it is a phone call, simply HANG UP.

The IRS Does and Does Not Do

Additionally, it is important for taxpayers to know that the IRS:

Never asks for credit card, debit card, or prepaid card information over the telephone.
Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations.
Never requests immediate payment over the telephone.
Will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior written notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.

Phone Scams

Potential phone scam victims may be told that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or, on the flip side, that they are entitled to big refunds. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy. Other characteristics of these scams include:

Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.

Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number. Make asure you do not provide the rest of the number or your birth date.

Scammers alter the IRS toll-free number that shows up on caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling.
Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up. Soon, others call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

DON’T GET HOODWINKED. This is a scam. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, DO NOT give the caller any information or money. Instead, you should immediately hang up. Call this office if you are concerned about the validity of the call.

In our next blog, we will show you how to identify an IRS email scam and what steps to take if you receive one.

If you are concerned you may have been tricked by an IRS scam, please call us. Worthtax is experienced in helping taxpayers who may have fallen victim to tax identity theft? Call Alex Franch, BS EA can help you work through all the criteria of a business versus hobby. Call him at 781.849.7200 to determine if you will get any tax benefit from your business investment. We invite you to leave your comments below or on our Facebook or Google + pages. If you found this information helpful , and you think someone else might benefit from it, feel free to share it on your social media pages.

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