Rich or poor, old or young, criminals still want to steal from you. Financial fraud and identity theft is a huge concern to most of us, particularly cyber fraud. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen released a statement in late January warning citizens about tax time scammers. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS WARNING.
Over the Internet
The Scam: Internet scammers come out in droves around tax time, trying to trick you as a taxpayer. They may try to get you to send them your address, Social Security number, credit card number, bank account number or any other valuable piece of information that can help them steal your identity or your assets. These tax scammers sent out so-called "phishing" emails that appear to be from the IRS and claim that the recipient either owes money or is due a refund. The IRS will never send you an e-mail about a bill or refund and request your private information.
What to Do: If you get an unsolicited email that seems to be from the IRS or a related agency, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), don't reply, don't open any attachments and don't click on any links. Opening the attachments can allow scammers to steal your personal information or infect your computer. Instead, report the e-mail to the IRS by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. According to the IRS, they do not contact taxpayers electronically - whether by text, email or other social media - to request personal or financial information.
The Scam: One of the all-time top tax scams is done by phone. These scammers call taxpayers and make claims about a refund or tax due and try to get taxpayers to provide private information.
What to Do: Do not provide private information over the phone – to anyone, including those who might claim to be calling from the IRS. If you receive a phone call or electronic communication from any source claiming to be the IRS or an associated agency, do not respond by providing confidential information.
Providing the wrong information to the wrong people can result in identity theft, monetary theft and years of headaches for you. Report any such communication to the IRS or contact your tax preparer or financial advisor for guidance.
Sandra Adams, CFP®is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In 2012-2014 Sandy has been named to the Five Star Wealth Managers list in Detroit Hour magazine. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.
Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR), a FINRA registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, including education and professional designations, actively employed in the industry for five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfillment of firm review based on internal firm standards, accepting new clients, one- and five-year client retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served. A15-003424