eTax Alert: Identify Theft and Your Clients July 21, 2017

Vern Hoven addresses top scams aimed at tax preparers including phishing scams, phone scams and identity theft. You’ll learn how to protect yourself and your clients.

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Vern Hoven: The Internal Revenue Service in your material usually has the top 12 scams. I only had enough room on this slide to put on the top six, so I’ve decided, “top six scams.” The number one problem they have is phishing. Number two is phone scams. And the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is saying, “how can we as the government, create a strategy to try to stop phone scams?” I thought it was really interesting. Number three both of them have to do with identity theft. Number four a bunch of these scammers are going after us and so I’d say let’s take a look at these four and what do you and I need to do, to try to minimize the potential for getting hurt here.

Identity theft is up–it’s doubling practically every year. In your material I’ve given, and on this slide links, so that if you have a client or you are the victim of identity theft or scam what you need to do immediately. And, so we’ve put the links into you material on this one. They also are finding that phishing scams are aimed right at the preparer. And they are pretending to be a client. And the client is saying, “Would you send me some information.” And that is often a scam.

So if you get an email from a client, you now have to if you’re going to send them information on any data, if they are asking for any information prior tax return et cetera make sure that you take a look at the “Protect Your Client; Protect Yourself” website. We’ve linked it into the material, but boy is that just a scary problem.

If your client already is a victim of identity theft that means you can’t use their name or social security number. You have to file by putting in an artificial number that will be assigned to you by the IRS. That’s an IP PIN (Identification Protection Personal Identification Number). And again, we have linked to how to get this IP PIN. IRS will distribute that on an annual basis, how to get that is again into your material. But any tax payer who has already been a victim of identity theft can’t use their social security number IP PIN, and we give you how to retrieve that on an annual basis.

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