With tax season upon us, most everyone is hoping for a refund from the IRS. According to a recent article, “IRS: Bad spelling led to crack in fraud case” by Kathy Lyn Gray, The Columbus Dispatch, it’s possible that someone may have already filed a return in your name. Two people accused of stealing more than 5,000 identities were charged with aggravated identity theft, conspiracy and wire fraud for the use of those identities to file tax returns resulting in a $1.3 million payout. Many of those families affected were on disability or other assistance, or have disabled children.
How were the fraud perpetrators able to get so many identities? Very easily, according to the authorities. The accused advertised on the internet that they could get money for a person if that person provided their social security number and other personal information.
What can we learn from this case of tax fraud?
Lesson #1: Protect your information – Most companies will not ask for your social security number, or they will ask you to only verify the last 4 digits. Be very skeptical if anyone asks you for your full social security number.
•Who are they?
•What are they going to do for you?
•Why do they need your private information to accomplish that goal?
Lesson #2: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – Research any “opportunity” that appears to get you easy money and err on the side of being too cautious rather than jump at such opportunities.
For more information on the warning sides of fraud, contact PBTK.