Identity thieves and criminal syndicates continue to persist and evolve and tax time
remains a prime target for those wanting to steal your identity or scam you out of money. It’s important that everyone take steps to protect their personal and financial data online and at home and remain vigilant.
The IRS warns about IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams and Email Phishing Scams. Scammers often send an email or call to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. The crooks then use this information to commit identity theft or steal your money. These con artists are very convincing and usually alter the caller ID to make it appear the IRS is calling.
The IRS will never do any of the following:
- Call to demand immediate payment
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying
If you receive an unexpected phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS: Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number. If you believe you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to work out a payment issue. If you do not believe you owe taxes, then contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov to report the incident. You may also report it to the Federal Trade Commission by using their “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov and adding "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
If you receive a phishing email: don't open any attachments or click any links and don't reply to the message or give out any personal or financial information. Forward the email to email@example.com and then delete it. Here’s a recent example of a phishing email we received:
The more vigilant and careful you are, the less likely you will fall victim to their schemes. There are several steps you can take to minimize your risk of tax ID theft.
- File tax returns early
Protect your passwords
- Use strong passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and special characters
- Safeguard internet passwords
- Do not use the same password for all accounts
- Change passwords regularly
- Install antivirus software and firewalls
- Look for the S for encrypted “https” websites when shopping or banking online and ensure on all pages, not just the sign-on page
- Shred all unneeded paperwork containing sensitive data
- Safeguard documents and identification numbers
- Be cautious when using public wireless networks
- Check each of your three credit reports at least once a year
- Monitor accounts regularly
We want to remind you to always use a secure method to deliver your financial information to us and any other service provider. Instead of sending a regular email and attaching your files, please use our Secure Email. If you send files back and forth with us frequently, we can set up a Client Portal for you to use, which requires a secure login and provides a secure connection. Of course, if you prefer not to transmit data electronically, you can always bring in your information personally.