About Services
Contact
Tools
News Guides


  

IDENTITY THEFT SERIES: PART 3

 

August 31, 2015
Just when the rest of us thought we'd avoided yet another data breach attack, the IRS recently revised their victim count of 100,000 people to 334,000.  So they will be sending out more notification letters to the additional taxpayers whose PII was stolen through the Get Transcript website - we just hope it's not you!
  
Squirrel Squad Update
On the Case!
Fun squirrel
"We do not accept tips on identity theft."
One persistent victim of tax fraud found that some of his stolen refund has ended up in Nigeria, but as his story shows, the IRS is busy doing a whole lot a nuttin' to track it down... 

In other not-surprising news, a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of those 334,000 taxpayer accounts, expected to multiply exponentially when  spouses and dependents are included.  The complaint notes that the IRS had been repeatedly warned of its outdated applications and lax computer security for a number of years. 
   
Scammers Keep On Scamming
Now that everyone knows about the data breach, criminals are already hard at work impersonating IRS agents and "notifying" taxpayers that their PII has been compromised. It is worth repeating that the IRS does NOT contact taxpayers by telephone, text message or email to request personal or financial information! No matter how much that "agent" knows about you, what your caller ID says, or how "official"  that IRS letter looks, do NOT give in to threatening demands for payment or personal information. Even websites can be faked: the real IRS website is IRS.gov (not .com, .net, or .org).
  
Lock Your Door!
If all this news is chilling, there's more to consider. Even if you haven't yet been notified of a PII breach, someone out there may already have your name and social security number, so you need to protect yourself as best you can.  Hopefully, you monitor your credit report on a regular basis. Another more secure option is to request a security freeze on your credit file.  A "credit freeze" prevents anyone from opening new lines of credit (including yourself). So unless you are actively seeking a loan, more credit, or need to allow a background check, it's not a bad idea to lock that door. For further instructions, here are links to the three credit agencies:
  

 

Unless you have been a victim of identity theft, there is a fee (usually $5 - $10) to temporarily lift the freeze to apply for credit, insurance, rental housing, utilities or other services.

 

And even with a freeze, a thief will not be prevented from making changes to your existing accounts, so you will still need to monitor your bank, credit card and insurance statements.

 

Stay tuned for more info on keeping your personal information secure!

 Boulder CPA Group | | nancy@bouldercpas.com | 1790 30th Street
Suite 418
Boulder, CO 80301