- Taxpayers Receiving Bogus Call from Individuals Claiming To Be IRS Agents.
- Guidelines to Avoid Being a Victim of a Scam or ID Theft.
- Limit Accounts to Avoid ID Theft Exposure.
We have previously cautioned you not to be duped by Internet and mail scams dreamed up by some pretty enterprising thieves. Most of those revolve around the Internet and e-mails, trying to steal your identity or have you pay tax liabilities that don’t exist.
The latest schemes revolve around phone calls from individuals claiming to be IRS agents who demand immediate payment for fabricated tax liabilities. Don’t get caught up in these scams. Always remember, the first contact you will receive from the IRS is letter, never a phone call or e-mail.
Here are some guidelines to follow to avoid becoming a victim:
- First and foremost, always remember, the first contact you will receive from the IRS will be by U.S. mail. If you receive e-mail or a phone call claiming to be from the IRS, consider it a scam.
a. E-mails – Do not respond or click through to any embedded links. Instead, forward it to email@example.com.
b. Phone calls – If someone calls claiming to be an IRS agent, ask for their name, badge number, and phone number. Tell them your representative will call them back. Then call this office.
- Never provide financial information over the phone via the Internet, or by e-mail unless you are absolutely sure 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? Maybe it should not be! That goes for your children, as well.
• Bank Account and Bank Routing Numbers – This 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.
• 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 charge and credit card accounts you have. The more who have your information, the greater the chances of it being stolen. Don’t think all the big firms are safe; there have been several high-profile database breaches in the last year.
The IRS is not the only disguise scammers use. They pretend to be attorneys representing estates, lottery payouts, and other such subterfuge to draw you into their web. If you ever have questions related to suspect e-mails or phone calls, please call this office before responding to them.