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IDENTITY THEFT SERIES: PART 2

 

August 14, 2015
Judging by the response to our last newsletter, it is obvious that more and more of you are increasingly concerned about identity theft, and with good reason.  Last year alone, an estimated 552 million people (including children and elderly, living or deceased!) had their identities stolen.  As Mark says, this is Public Enemy #1 to Your Financial Health

We've given you the bad news about the IRS cyberattack and all that Personally Identifiable Information floating around. This week we will tell you what steps the IRS has taken, and what steps you can take, should you become an unfortunate victim of tax fraud.
 
IRS Steps Up
It's A Start
In addition to disabling and revamping the Get Transcripts site where taxpayer accounts were accessed, the IRS has sent notification letters to all the 200,000 taxpayers whose accounts had attempted unauthorized access. It is also offering free credit monitoring services for the other half whose accounts were successfully hacked and marking their accounts to watch for fraudulent filing. Credit Monitoring is a service we should all subscribe to these days to be alerted to any suspicious activity on our accounts.  If you haven't signed up yet,  click here  to check out some services and get started!  You can also monitor your credit on your own, and there are free services to help such as AnnualCreditReport.com.
 
Top Ten ID Theft Proscecutions
A New TV Series?
The IRS has its own Criminal Investigation (CI) unit that investigates identity theft and works with many other law enforcement agencies dedicated to this problem. Last year, more than $15 billion fraudulent refunds were stopped.  For thefts that succeeded, sentencings and jail time have dramatically increased, but it's doubtful that taxpayers will ever be repaid the billions in stolen refunds. If you like crime drama/comedy, read the IRS's Top Ten (especially amusing is the guy who eats a debit card when confronted by the police). 
  
Steps for Victims
  So how do you know if someone has stolen your PII and filed a tax return in your name?  Usually you don't, until your own return is filed and rejected. Or you may receive an IRS notice that multiple returns have been filed or that you received wages from an unknown employer. The IRS will then delay processing (and any refund) until the case is resolved, which can take many months. In the meantime:

 

  1. File a report with law enforcement and the FTC
  2. Place a fraud alert on your account by contacting one of the 3 major credit bureaus and close any accounts opened or changed without your permission
  3. Complete Form 14039 - Identity Theft Affidavit
  4. Obtain an IP PIN and continue to file returns and pay taxes due
Remember that the IRS does NOT contact taxpayers by telephone, text message or email to request personal or financial information! Any first contact will be through official correspondence via U.S. mail.  Always forward any new notices you receive to your tax manager for review.
 
It's painful being a victim of tax-related identity theft, but we are here to help!
  
More info to come!
  
 Boulder CPA Group | | nancy@bouldercpas.com | 1790 30th Street
Suite 418
Boulder, CO 80301