Monday, January 27, 2014

Identity thieves, Tax refunds

Caveat Emptor Taxpayers! --

  • If you file by mail, do it at a post office, not from an unlocked mailbox in front of your house.
  • If you file electronically, use a secure computer on a secure network. It's OK to check the weather using a Wi-Fi hot spot, but don't do anything financial or tax-related on a public Wi-Fi network.

Identity thieves gear up to steal your tax refund: " . . . Most victims find out there's a problem when they get a letter from the IRS that says they've filed more than one return or that they earned wages from an unknown employer, which likely means someone stole your Social Security number to get a job. If you get such a notice, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit right away at 800-908-4490, extension 245. There's paperwork you need to file and things you should do as quickly as possible because you are now vulnerable to all types of identity theft. "The Social Security number is the Holy Grail," Velasquez said. "Once you have enough information to file a phony tax return, you have enough information to open new lines of credit, commit medical identity theft and take over financial accounts." The refund thieves may also try to claim your tax refund next year, so if you're a victim get a verification PIN code from the IRS that you must use to file future returns. Do not respond to an unexpected email or text message that claims to be from the IRS. The IRS does not do business that way. Its initial contact is always by mail...."

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