Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fraud and Identity Theft During Tax Time

This is the time of year we all are scrambling to collect receipts, bills and other important papers that are needed to file our taxes. It is sometimes a high stress period for some, while others look forward to the day their refund will arrive.
During this time there are those who would use the emotion and stress involved in tax preparation to commit a host of crimes against you, the good tax paying citizen.
“Phishing” is associated with the internet and email services. Phishing is an attempt to get you to divulge personal information about yourself and your finances in the hopes of using that information to steal your identity.
Scammers and con artists can use technology to replicate legitimate looking services. At tax time, the services and /or questionnaires appear to come from Uncle Sam himself…the IRS. These communications seek to lure tax payers into supplying names, social security numbers, credit card information and other personal identification information.
Never respond to emails asking for information relating to refunds. The IRS’s website is the legitimate source for checking on refund status:
When you have completed your return make sure you shred everything. Do not just throw it in the garbage.
If you believe you may be a victim of fraud contact the your Police Department for assistance. You may also contact the Attorney General’s Fraud Help Line at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226). You can also file a complaint online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/
Informed and educated consumers can protect themselves from falling prey to these schemes.
And yes...it even happens to us!