Hackers and scammers are back at it again … and they’re better than ever. Recently we’ve seen a big upswing in the number, and relative sophistication, of hacker and scammer attacks. They’re sending sophisticated emails and “snail mail” invoicing to target unwitting individuals and companies.
Zinner & Co. Blog and Newsroom
Every year around this time, the IRS issues a warning about scams that attempt to victimize taxpayers and steal from them. More often than not, the victims of these crimes are senior citizens. The scams have varying levels of sophistication. From simple - such as calling on the phone and posing as an IRS agent - to sophisticated phishing scams that attempt to get taxpayers to reveal information that can be used to hack key user accounts.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last month several high profile companies were hacked and individuals’ personal information was compromised. The sites included health insurance providers, job searching sites, restaurant chains, a fitness and diet tracking website and even online photo storage sites. The numbers of people potentially involved in these breaches are staggering.
T'is the season! Tax season that is. It’s also identity theft season. Last year over 100,000 people discovered that their identity had been stolen when they attempted to file their taxes. While the IRS and other tax jurisdictions have worked diligently to reduce the number of fraudulent filings, there is still a lot that you can do to protect yourself from identity theft.
If you’ve traveled you know how unproductive travel time can feel sitting and waiting for your plane. So, you figure you’ll just hop on the airport’s Wi-Fi and check your email or send out a proposal. NOT SO FAST!
Tax season is prime time for scammers and cyber criminals. Beyond identity theft, which is seemingly quite commonplace, tax scams have the dubious distinction of rising to the top of the Better Business Bureau's list of scams in 2016.
According to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker, the top ten list includes:
- Tax scams
- Debt collections
- Online purchase
Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Secure driver's licenses and identification documents are a vital component of a holistic national security strategy. Law enforcement must be able to rely on government-issued identification documents and know that the bearer of such a document is who he or she claims to be.
The REAL ID Act is a coordinated effort by the states and the Federal Government to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents, which should inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.
Do you remember when you were in school and the teacher would give each student a worksheet to “spot the difference” between two side-by-side detailed scenes? You would look carefully at each of the two images, trying to spot subtle details, such as an extra button on a shirt or a missing shoe on a person. Maybe it was the number of petals on a daisy or a cone of ice cream missing the cherry on top. The directions would indicate there would be six differences, but try as hard as you did, (and even when you asked a classmate for help) you could still only find four or five differences, and were convinced there was never a sixth.
Have you been notified by the IRS? You may want to think twice before responding to the call, email or letter.
The work of criminals knows no boundaries. Unfortunatley, this time of year brings another wave of antics to the forefront as the criminal will use various ploys to trick taxpayers into providing sensitive or personal identification information by posing as the IRS.
Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, but now the IRS is receiving new reports of scammers calling under the guise of verifying tax return information over the phone.