Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:49 AM
Fraudsters Trick Citizens Into Divulging Personal Information
The Debix OnCall Investigation team wants to warn customers about a jury duty scam making the rounds in recent months.
How it works:
Scammers make phishing phone calls to random people, claiming they work for a local court.
The scammer tells the person on the phone that they either missed jury duty or are being considered as a prospective juror.
The scammer requests confidential information such as home address, date of birth, Social Security number, or even credit card numbers, claiming a fraudulent reason.
The jury duty scam has been reported by the FBI for a few years across several states. The latest incident happened in early December in Kendall County, Illinois.
If you do get a call from someone claiming to be a court worker, remember that official court representatives do not ask for Social Security numbers or other private information over the phone. In fact, most courts communicate with consumers via US Postal Service mail.
Protecting yourself is simple: Never give personal information out when you receive a phone call. When in doubt, you can call the organization requesting private information directly by finding the phone number in your local yellow pages or their website. For court-related issues, always call the county clerk’s office to verify they are trying to reach you
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Watch Out For Tax Fraud This Year
4 Quick Tax Tips to Prevent Identity Theft
Dealing with identity theft related to your taxes can be a nightmare. Here are four easy ways to help prevent identity theft and tax fraud, especially if you are filing online:
1. Get computer anti-virus software:
Thieves can embed a virus within file-sharing software to steal data right from your computer. If your computer is used for preparing taxes, and your family uses the computer to download music or play games, you need to make sure your computer anti-virus software is up to date. There are several trusted, free anti-virus options available.
2. Make sure your network is secure:
Always work on sensitive transactions on a secure network. This is especially true when it comes to tax information. Make sure your home wireless network is password-protected prior to scanning any personal documents or working on your taxes online. Don’t complete sensitive transactions on unprotected public networks.
3. File early:
File your taxes as early as you can, claiming your dependents and other exemptions. If a thief tries to file using your personal information, or your dependents’, the thief will be blocked because you’ve already filed.
4. Protect your papers - get a safe and a shredder:
Store your tax-related paper documents you collect throughout the year in a fireproof safe. Shred your old tax paperwork before you place it in the recycle bin. Crosscut shredders provide the highest level of protection by cutting paper into confetti-sized pieces, making them impossible to reassemble.
2012 Identity Theft Trend Predictions
Watch Out For Threats on Social Media and Mobile Devices
From botnets to WikiLeaks, 2011 was a watershed year for identity theft and technology security issues. So what does 2012 have in store for us?
With an influx of mobile devices, an explosion in social media, and cloud computing being hailed as the next big thing, 2012 will likely bring a whole new batch of security concerns. The security research firm Websense made its predictions of technology threats (PDF download) we'll be seeing more in the near future:
Your social media identity may be more valuable to cyber criminals than your credit cards. Spammers have been buying bits and pieces of your email credentials for years, but now they’re moving onto your social media credentials. If a bad guy compromises your Facebook or Twitter log-ins, there’s a good chance they can manipulate your friends. Which leads to the next prediction…
Bad guys’ attack methods will go through your social media “friends” and your mobile devices. While past attacks relied on email phishing scams, attacks in 2012 will increasingly use a combination of social media, mobile and cloud computing platforms. A recent attack involved the chat function of a compromised social media account to get to the right user. Expect social media networks like Facebook to be the primary focus of advanced attacks in 2012.
Multiple types of attacks are coming to a smartphone or tablet near you. Websense estimates that 2012 will usher in more than 1,000 different variants of exploits, malicious applications, and botnets infecting that device glued to your hand and plugged into your head. “We’ll at least see a new variant every day,” warns Websense. And if application creators don’t protectively sandbox their offerings, you’re likely to see malware that accesses your banking info, work documents, social media credentials and other sensitive data on your phone. Websense also predicts more schemes to lure mobile users to infected apps and websites. And the number of victims will go through the roof if the bad guys find a way to use mobile location-based services to design hyper-specific scams on geolocation sites like Foursquare.
Avoid the London Olympics, the presidential elections and the Mayan calendar. These will all be popular search terms on the Web in 2012 – especially for cyber criminals. “Search engine poisoning” has become an everyday occurrence, but while big search engines like Google become better at removing poisoned results, criminals will use the same techniques on new platforms where users are less suspicious: Twitter feeds, LinkedIn updates, YouTube video comments and forum conversations. Use extreme caution with searches, posts, discussions and tweets dealing with the topics listed above, as well as any celebrity death or surprising news from the presidential campaign.
Fake technology tools are on the rise.“Scareware” tactics and the use of fake anti-virus tools will stage a comeback in 2012. But instead of seeing “you have been infected” pages, Websenses predicts that you’ll see one of these three options instead: fake registry clean-up, fake speed improvement software, or fake backup software mimicking popular personal cloud backup systems. Always question any offer, paid or free, whenever a window appears and says you should download and install something.
God's, are Life.
Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:52 PM
Posted 17 February 2012 - 08:51 PM
Previously, he's always used a separate computer that had never been on-line so that was never, ever an issue. This year, he can't do that.
MtRider [...you have to make sure your tax person has good protection toooooo! Walk carefully out there folks! ]
Posted 22 February 2012 - 08:09 AM
File Early to Keep Your Return Safe
Tax season is upon us, meaning not only do you have to deal with filling out your tax returns, you have to keep your information safe from identity thieves.
The Internal Revenue Service has admitted in the past that thieves have been able to file electronic tax returns using other people’s identities to get large refunds. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which has oversight over the IRS, said last year that more than 580,000 taxpayers had been affected by identity theft.
One big reason why, according to a Miami Herald story: Scammers are exploiting a weakness in the IRS electronic filing system, because the agency does not match filers’ tax returns to W-2 income forms filed by employers until months after the filing season ends in April. That means the IRS is not scrutinizing fabricated documents before it issues refunds to thieves.
But the IRS is cracking down. On January 31, they announced the results of a massive national crackdown, arresting 105 people in 23 states for refund fraud and identity theft. They also visited 150 money-service businesses in nine locations nationwide to make sure they weren’t aiding and abetting these crimes, and is currently auditing 250 check-cashing operations. The high-risk areas identified by the IRS as hotbeds for refund fraud and tax-related identity theft are Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington, D.C.
The IRS also has new rules in place to combat identity theft. For a taxpayer who has been identified by the IRS as a previous victim of tax identity theft, a series of filters are now used to determine whether a return is legitimate. When the IRS receives a return for a past victim, that return is matched against these filters before automatic processing to help the IRS determine whether the return is valid or fraudulent.
Because the IRS now requires most 2011 tax returns to be filed electronically, a return will be kicked out of the normal IRS process if it fails to pass through any of the filters, and then manually reviewed and verified by IRS personnel before processing. This will cause a delay in the processing of the return, but better to make sure the right tax refund amount goes to the right person.
If you have been a victim of tax identity theft, you should have received a letter from the IRS giving you a six-digit Identity Protection PIN, an authenticator that must appear on your 2011 tax return. This safeguard means your tax return will be processed in a timely manner. If your return doesn’t have that PIN, it will be rejected and you’ll have to file a paper return, meaning substantial delays in processing your return. If you and your spouse both receive the IP PIN letters, provide both sets; the IP PIN of the taxpayer whose name appears first on the return will be used.
The IRS just created a new section on its website dedicated to identity theft, including how to contact its Identity Protection Specialized Unit if you’ve come across tax-related identity theft.
God's, are Life.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:28 PM
Aiiiieeee, such times we live in. This is exactly why DH never filed electronically till they mandated it this year for anyone in the business of doing other people's taxes.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:57 PM
IRS info on identy protection: http://www.irs.gov/p...tml?portlet=111
IRS info on PTIN Requirements: http://www.irs.gov/t...tml?portlet=104
Edited by Annarchy, 22 February 2012 - 06:04 PM.
God's, are Life.
Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:27 PM
I'll pass this along to him tho. He might get new clients with this history.
I'm sure he's familiar with the Enrolled Agent #'s tho.
MtRider [...we's gettin' WAY to complicated ]
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