Category Archives: Tax

Helpful tips to avoid the identity theft during the 2008 tax session

The recently passed federal economic stimulus package has not only been beneficial to the US economy but it has also given a boost to the industry thieves stealing identity. According to the IRS announcement, 130 million Americans will receive tax rebates this year and this has given the chance to the scammers to earn extra cash. They want to lure the Americans to disclose their sensitive personal information.

The “phishing” tactics can take a variety of forms. The most common form is a scammer pretending to be an IRS employee and sending emails or making phone calls to the consumers. The scammer will promise a sizeable rebate if the taxes are filed early in the year. They will try to get your bank account number if they get you in their trap. The consumer needs to be smart on the facts and follow the proper precautions.

Here are few helpful tips before you are preparing your taxes for the year 2008 and avoid identity thefts:

  • Beware of phishing scams. IRS will never contact the consumer by email or phone to request sensitive personal information. If someone calls you and represents from the IRS, file a complaint with the Anti phishing Working Group and contact the IRS immediately.
  • Avoid shopping mall kiosks or pop up preparers who offer to assist you with tax preparation. You don’t want to hand over your personal information to someone whose background and experience is unfamiliar to you. Ask a trusted friend to introduce you to his/her tax preparer or consult a local CPA association for trustworthy members.

Careful tips when filing taxes electronically:

  • Avoid using wireless networks. Data in the wireless network is transmitted over open airwaves, similar to a radio transmission. The data transmitted is not secured and it can be picked by an uninvited party.
  • Don’t prepare your taxes on a public computer. There are key logger spy ware which tracks all information including passwords and account information. Identity thieves use the key loggers to steal your personal information entered into the computer during the session.
  • Keep the record of the tax claims as long as it is necessary. Purge the data once the need for it has expired.

Filing taxes by mail:

  • Don’t put your completed claim in an unlocked mailbox for pick ups. Instead, go to the post office and post your claim.
  • Send the claim through certified mail with return receipt requested for delivery tracking. That way you will be sure that your information has reached to the IRS safely.

You may also choose to have the IRS deposit your tax rebate directly to your bank account to minimize the risk of identity theft.