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Identity theft

EASY TAX SOLUTIONS

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for appointment, please call         719-592-0019

Stan Lebahn: Enrolled Agent:  Licensed to practice before the IRS

Most answers to your tax questions can be found in IRS Pub 17

Click on the link above, then simply enter a topic in the search box.  It’s a lot quicker than clalling the IRS phone line and more acurate, I’m sure!

As a personalized service, I take the time needed for each individual!

Even a Kid Could Do It!

There was a news story on Date-Line Sunday, Sept. 26th about a 15 year old teen who was using other peoples personal information to obtain credit cards, transfer money, & make purchases.  He had bilked people out of almost a half million dollars by the time he was caught.

See the article in Consumer reports: Stop Thieves From Stealing You.  for ratings on shredders and tips on what you should do to avoid becoming a victim.

Minimizing Identity Theft

Though you can’t prevent identity theft entirely, you can minimize your risk.

Facts about Identity Theft

• Identity theft is rarely a stand alone crime

• Identity theft is a costly crime

– Estimated 10 million victims in United States.

– $5 billion annual cost to victims

– almost 300 million hours to restore their good names

Information can be found @ IDtheft.gov

Protect your Social Security Number

  • Don’t carry your Social Security Number (SSN); leave it in a secure place.
  • Only give your SSN when absolutely necessary.
  • Your employer and financial institution may need your SSN for wage and tax reporting purposes. Don't give a business your SSN just because they ask for it. Find out why before giving it out.
  • Ask why your SSN is needed and if other types of identifiers can be used. For example, if your state uses your SSN as your driver’s license number, ask to substitute another number.
  • Ensure your employer is protecting your SSN
    • Ask your employer what steps they are taking to protect your SSN at work from theft by someone who might be planning a tax refund crime.

    How identity theft occurs

    A thief can obtain your personal

    identifiable information by…

    Using technology:

    – Phishing - Hacking and Trojans

    – Skimming - Social Engineering

    What is “Phishing”?

    Phishing is the act of sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be a legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that can be used for identity theft.

    Using less sophisticated methods:

    – Dumpster Diving

    – Changing Your Address

    – Stealing Mail, Wallet or Purse

    What you can do to protect your identity?

    Stay Informed:

    Check your credit report

    Review your bank and credit

    card statements

    Report incidents of ID Theft

    Secure personal information

    Secure your computer - Encrypt

    Challenge requesters of social security numbers - they usually don’t really need that number.

    Shred / destroy documents

    Secure documents

    IRS does not initiate e-mail contact

    to request personal information

    Forward or send suspicious e-mail

    to:  phishing@irs.gov

  • Be careful when choosing a tax preparer
  • If you do not prepare your own return, be careful in choosing your tax preparer - as careful as you would in choosing a doctor or a lawyer. Remember: The tax preparer you select will have access to your personal financial records. Ask your friends and coworkers to recommend a preparer they know and trust. Avoid preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers, or who guarantee results or base fees on a percentage of the amount of the refund.

    For more tips on choosing a tax professional, see Choosing a Tax Return Preparer

    IRS Resources

    www.IRS.gov keyword search “Identity Theft”

    Contact IRS at 1-800-829-1040

    • Publication 4469 - Identity Theft - Outsmarting the Crooks

    • Publication 4524 - Security Awareness

    • Publication 4535(EN/SP) - Identity Theft

    Prevention and Victim Assistance

    • Publication 4523(EN/SP) - Beware of Phishing