Don’t get scammed; Identity Theft Prevention Tips

 

By Justin Ash

As tax season approaches, we expect an increase in phone scams in which scammers may contact individuals via phone, demanding payment with a credit card to settle a bogus outstanding tax liability. In most cases the callers will threaten police action, revocation of professional licenses, inability to apply for student loans, and other idle threats. DO NOT fall for this. The IRS or state taxing authority will never call you to demand immediate payment, nor will they call you about taxes owed unless they have first contacted you by mail. They will also never demand payment of taxes without the opportunity to appeal the amount you owe. Furthermore, they will never require a specific form of payment such as a debit or credit card, nor will they ask for debit or credit card information over the phone. Legitimate calls from the IRS and the state taxing authority can be verified by referencing the bill that you will receive in the mail in advance. The caller should be able to provide you with a badge or some identification number and should also be able to provide you with the assessment or notice ID number printed on the bill that you received in the mail. Those with elderly parents should remain especially vigilant as scammers often target the elderly for these and other scams. If you believe that you or a loved one have been contacted by a scammer, you can report the incident to Federal authorities by contacting the Treasury Inspector General at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft in New York, you may report it to NYS, who will then flag your social security number, requiring human eyes to review tax returns that you file in the near future. While this will prolong the processing time for future returns, it should also prevent scammers from obtaining your refund by filing an erroneous tax return in your name. More information can be found at: https://www.tax.ny.gov/help/contact/identity_theft.htm

In the state of Georgia you may file a fraud referral form at https://dor.gerogia.gov/webform/fraud-referral-form.

This Georgia form must be filed electronically. Include in the description that you believe you may be the victim of identity theft. More information can be found at http://dor.georgia.gov/press-releases/2015-11-23/irs-states-team-combat-fraud.

Taxpayers should also be on guard against scam artists masquerading as charitable organizations to solicit donations from unsuspecting contributors. Your first line of defense before giving is to ensure that the organization is indeed a charitable organization. This can be checked by using the IRS’ Exempt Organization Select Check tool found at https://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check. The IRS also advises that taxpayers be especially wary of solicitations following a major disaster, as it is common for scammers to impersonate legitimate charities.

If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, or if you would like information on our elder care program to assist with the financial affairs of your aging loved ones, please contact us. Our elder care program can be customized to suit any needs and also provides much needed peace of mind.