IRS Scams - Part Two

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Nathaniel J Krautkramer Profile Photo Krautkramer & Block LLC Law Firm Wausau Bankruptcy Attorney Tax Business Real Estate Wills Lawyer Emerald Court 3544 Stewart Ave
Authored by Nathaniel J. Krautkramer

In my blog article in August 2015, entitled Beware of IRS Tax Scams, I talked about callers claiming to be from the IRS. It was such a large problem that the Internal Revenue Service had issued warnings about the practice. Since then, the IRS has issued other alerts about tax scams. One is the continuing problem of tax refund fraud, in which people obtain a taxpayer's social security number and then file a fraudulent return using someone else's identity and then collects the refund check. The IRS attempted to prevent practice by offering taxpayers who had been victims of identity theft a new Identity Protection Pin (IP Pin); if you had been issued one, and you filed a return without the IP Pin, the return would be rejected. Unfortunately the identity thieves broke the IRS website tool that allowed people to retrieve lost IP Pins, and this additional layer of protection has been compromised. This follows an announcement that there was an IRS data breach in 2015 in which the hackers obtained tax transcript records for over 700,000 taxpayers. Obviously, the Service has been struggling with data security this past year. The best method for taxpayers to avoid fraud due to identity theft is to file your tax returns as soon as possible -- once your return is filed, the fraudulent return is more likely to be rejected.

Another issue you should be aware of is tax email scams. On February 18, 2016, the IRS issued notice IR-2016-28. It described a 400 percent increase in email phishing and malware incidents this tax season. While the emails may be look official, these scams will often contain a link for the recipient to click or a request to provide missing financial information. The end result is that the information unwittingly given to the scammers will be used to steal your identity. Taxpayers should know that the IRS will generally not send you emails about your tax return without having contacted you by mail first, and neither will the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Also, neither agency uses text messages or social networks to contact taxpayers.

Protect your identity -- if you have any questions about the validity of requests for your tax information, or any other questions or tax problems, contact me by email or call me at 715-842-2162 to schedule a meeting. I will be happy to help.

This blog post contains general information regarding public news, matters, and developments in the law. None of the information contained on this blog post is intended as legal advice or opinion relative to specific matters, facts, situations, or issues. Additional facts and information or future developments may affect the subjects addressed and no guarantee is given that the information provided in this blog post is correct, complete, and up-to-date. Consult with an attorney before acting or relying upon any information contained in this blog post.
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