Hey, below is a great letter I receive from Attorney Eric Klein – Tax Scam Warnings!
Every year, between January 1st and April 15th we enter into what is called, Tax Season, and it is well upon us. While you prepare to file your income tax return, scammers are preparing and plotting to steal your identity. This letter is directed to keep you informed and aware of potential Tax Scams.
There are countless stories of individual’s attempting and obtaining social security numbers and other sensitive information with great success. Scammers target businesses, school districts, hospitals, non-profits and other organizations across the country in an effort to obtain sensitive information.
In recent news, there have been warnings issued about the W-2 form scam involving the popular method of “phishing”. Phishing is a form of fraud in which the attacker tries to learn information such as login credentials or account information by masquerading as a reputable entity or person in an email, instant messenger or other communication channels. If the cybercriminal is successful in posing as a high-ranking employee, human resources or the accounting department, the scammer can collect personal information such as requesting a W-2 form of employees.
Additionally, after the scammer receives the sensitive information, such as your social security number, the stolen information is then exploited in fraudulent tax return filings. These tax refund theft attacks are highly automated, quick, easy and inexpensive to initiate. The Internal Revenue Service urges individuals to obtain an IP PIN, a six-digit number assigned to taxpayers that helps prevent the misuse of their social security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. You can get an identity protection pin by visiting the IRS website.
The IRS scam has circulated throughout the country over the years. It is more aggressive than most scams because the perpetrators will continue to call for collections and use the “authority” of a government agency to try to convince potential victims to pay, even when the victim knows that they do not owe back taxes.
In order to recognize this as a scam you must know that the IRS will not solicit payments over the telephone or by e-mail. Any time you are asked upfront for money in an unsolicited telephone call or e-mail, it is the universal red flag for a scam. A government agency will not seek money or personal information from you over the telephone or by e-mail. The Internal Revenue Service’s recommend reporting incidents to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or visit www.tigta.gov.
If you or your company have been a victim of tax fraud, we urge you to sign up for a credit freeze to protect yourself from identity theft. A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is a tool that lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score, it also does not prevent you from getting your free annual credit report.
Additionally, a credit freeze will not keep you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment or buying insurance. However, if you choose to do any of those things, you will have to lift the freeze temporarily.
To place a freeze on your credit report, you need to contact each of the nationwide credit reporting companies:
Equifax – 1-800-349-9660
Experian – 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion – 1-888-909-8872
It is important to report any suspicious calls or activity to police. Scammers are getting more advanced and it is imperative we learn how to protect ourselves and our information.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 561-353-2800.
Eric N. Klein, Esq.