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ASK THE EDD LAWYER – U.S. TAX COURT RELEASES FIRST EVER IDENTITY THEFT WARNING AND IRS “SECONDS THE MOTION”

By Robert S. Schriebman

February 3, 2017

INTRODUCTION

On January 11, 2017 the U.S. Tax Court (Court) took the unprecedented step in the war against identity theft by issuing a public warning about tax scams. Even though a large ring of scammers was busted in India recently, scammers are located throughout the world. The Court is concerned about communications from individuals fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS or a Clerk from the Court who demand immediate payment by money-order, gift card, debit card, or other means of payment.

Tax Court Warning

The Court does not want anyone victimized by scammers. Therefore the Court made it very clear that no Clerk or other Court employee will ever do any of the following:

  • Call or email demanding payment of Court fees or taxes;
  • Call of email threatening arrest;
  • Call of email insisting that a specific payment method be used to pay a tax debt or requesting credit or debit card numbers of the phone.

If you have received a call or any other type of communication that directly or indirectly refers to the U.S. Tax Court, you should automatically expect a scam. The Court urges you to call its main office at (202) 521-3390. For more information see IRS Publication 2017ARD 007-34.

IRS Joins The Tax Court In Issuing Scam Warnings

Concurrently with the Court’s announcement, the IRS issued 2017ARD 006-1 reminding the public that cybercriminals continue to steal large amounts of personal data from outside the tax system and can use that data to file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS advises you take the following steps to protect your personal data and your computers.

    Keep Your Computer Secure

    • Treat your personal information as if it were cash, don’t leave it lying around.
    • Use security software that updates automatically.
    • Use a firewall, virus/malware protection and file encryption for sensitive data
    • Give personal information only over encrypted websites.
    • Use strong passwords and protect them and change them often.
    • Backup your files.

    Avoid Phishing and Malware

    • If you do not know your email sender, don’t open the email.
    • Use a pop-up blocker.
    • Don’t open any attachment in emails unless you know who sent it and what is in it.
    • Don’t fall for get-rich-quick scams.
    • Don’t fall for calls or texts from anyone stating that he or she is from the IRS, or tax companies.

    Protect Your Personal Information

    • Do not carry around your Social Security card.
    • Be very careful what you say on social media.
    • Keep old tax returns and tax records in a safe fire-proof container. Keep these records for at least 7 years.
    • Remember that the IRS will never call or email you cold. The IRS will never threaten to use local law enforcement, or put you in jail.
    • The IRS will never send you an email offering you a refund or asking you questions about your returns.
    • Check your credit report annually.
    • Review your bank statements and credit card statements. Don’t just pay the credit card bills or bank charges blindly.
    • Go online to the IRS website and download IRS Publication 4524, "Security Awareness for Taxpayers."

    Conclusion

    This is not the first article on my website to warn you about identity theft scams. The IRS is improving its protection measures and constantly issues updated advice for the public. We will continue to pass this advice onto you.

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    Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States. He has successfully dedicated more than 40 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments.

    Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.

    Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House.

    Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.

    Web Site Article 261