If you are accessing the IRS’ e-Services online registration page, make sure you are on the IRS website and not an imposter site. The Internal Revenue Service recently issued a warning about a new tax scam involving a website that looks almost identical to the actual IRS e-Services page.
Keep in mind that the IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media to request personal or financial information. Also, remember that the IRS site is an official government website and ends in .gov. Avoid any website claiming to be the IRS and not ending in .gov.
To stay in the know about tax scams, visit www.irs.gov. If you receive a dubious email or encounter a website that claims to be the IRS, you should report the suspicious email or websiteto firstname.lastname@example.org.
Identity theft and tax fraud are serious problems that continue to increase in number and complexity as each tax season rolls by. Don’t think you will ever be affected? Accounting Today recently reported that the IRS identified 775,723 tax returns with $4.6 billion claimed in fraudulent refunds, as of April 30, 2011. The good news – the IRS prevented the issuance of $4.4 billion (96%) of those claims which is an increase of 171% over the previous year. Unfortunately, 4% of those victims were not so lucky.
Becoming a victim of identity theft and tax fraud can cause great hardship for you and your family. The Miami Herald recently wrote about a Miami Shores family who are struggling with the IRS to obtain their $8,000 tax refund after falling victim. Indeed, my colleagues and I have witnessed many falsified returns this past tax season, and although the IRS has implemented the IRS Identity Theft Program, there is no quick and easy solution to overcome this unfortunate circumstance.
While there is no guarantee that a thief won’t steal your identity, there are certain precautions you can take to prevent becoming victimized:
Safeguard your personal information
Monitor your credit report
Respond immediately to IRS notices
If you have questions about preventing identity theft and tax fraud, or if you have already been targeted and need assistance, please contact me at email@example.com or 561.620.1722.