By Robert S. Schriebman
August 30, 2016
We have tried to make you, the taxpayer, aware of various identity theft ploys and schemes used not only to steal your tax refund but to steal your overall identity as well. We have published several articles discussing phony IRS calls that are available on this website. We invite you to call us if you receive a suspicious call from someone pretending to be an IRS agent or collector. It is gratifying that we have calmed the anxiety and stress of so many of you.
On August 8, 2016 the IRS published a Press Release known as 2016ARD 153-1. This Press Release discusses many ways you can protect yourself and your future tax refund from winding up in the hands of offshore thieves. In this article we will discuss the main features of this Press Release.
Protecting Yourself From IRS Related Identity Theft
The goal of the identity thieves is to get your Social Security number. Once they obtain your number they can file a phony tax return and steal your refund. When you actually file your return, you will learn that the refund was already paid to you. This is what the late comedian William Bendix called, “a revolting development.”
Here are some very important pointers issued by the IRS after extensive experience in working to solve the problem as well as having successfully prosecuted over 2,000 attempts at identity theft.
- “Taxes. Security. Together.” This is a new IRS program involving the IRS, most states, and the private sector. However, they cannot accomplish protecting you by themselves; they need your help. Over the next few months the IRS will publish information about current developments and methods to protect yourself. We will attempt to get this information to you as soon as we receive it.
- Protect Your Records. Repeatedly the IRS has advised the public not to carry a Social Security card. Leave it at home, or better yet, put it in a safe or a safe deposit box. Protect your computers with anti-spam and anti-virus software. Routinely change your passwords.
- Don’t Fall For Scams. These scams are pervasive. The scammers pose as your bank or your credit card company. Of course they have all kinds of telephone schemes. They pretend to be IRS agents or lawyers threatening you with a lawsuit. They also offer phony gift cards. If you are not expecting any gifts from online merchants, such as Amazon, do not click on the link.
- Use Your IP PIN. If you are already a victim of IRS identity theft you would have been issued a special PIN number. This is a unique 6 digit number used to e-file your tax return. The PIN number changes annually. Always use this number when e-filing your return.
- Report Suspicious Activity: The IRS needs your help in reporting suspicious activity. It is always better to err on the side of providing information than it is not to provide it. Visit IRS. gov and follow the chart on How to Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity.
In 2015 the IRS stopped close to 1 ½ million confirmed phony returns. This saved the Treasury $8.7 billion. More than 2000 people have been convicted of filing fraudulent ID theft returns.
Additional IRS Resources:
Publication 5027, Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers
Publication 5199, Tax Preparer Guide to Identity Theft
Publication 4524, Security Awareness – Identity Theft Flyer
Publication 4523, Beware of Phishing Schemes
IRS YouTube Videos:
IRS Identity Theft FAQ: Going after the Bad Guys – English / Spanish / ASL
Phishing-Malware – English / Spanish/ ASL
Tax identity theft continues to be a problem. The crooks are still getting away with it. Unfortunately there will always be victims. But, you do not have to be one.
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.
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