Monday, February 24, 2014

Protect Yourself Against Tax Scams


 

I thought I should let you know that the IRS has issued a warning about tax scams.

This is a tough enough time for everyone preparing and completing their returns, without being targeted by crooks who want to make money off of your hard earned dollars.

The IRS calls these scams The Dirty Dozen. Their list is updated every year and includes:

* Identity theft in which the scammers use an individual's personal information to claim a refund.

* Bogus websites and emails pretending to be the IRS in order to collect confidential information - "phishing" as it's called.

* Phone calls and other messages, again pretending to be the IRS and claiming you owe money for a previous year.

* Tax preparer fraud. Non-registered preparers may encourage you to give false information or try to skim your refund.

* Frivolous claims schemes. These are usually outlandish suggestions that you can avoid paying taxes via some little known laws or tactics.


Identity theft seems to be the biggest worry and the IRS has set up a special task force to deal with it. Some homeowner and renters policies have identity theft protection automatically included or could be added by endorsement. The IRS also posted a helpful video on YouTube on how to protect yourself. You'll find more details on this here:  ( http://tinyurl.com/IRS-ID-theft-video.) 

Phishing is the other major concern. It's important to know that the IRS does not use email to seek personal information and that its website address is www.irs.gov (http://www.irs.gov) . If the address you see doesn’t have that "gov" at the end of the first part, it's not the IRS.

You can also avoid phishing scams by protecting your personal information, especially your Social Security Number.

I hope this timely information helps you avoid the risk of being scammed. Paying taxes is painful enough!

By the way, are you up to date with the tax treatment on life insurance and annuities? This can be quite a complex issue and it's important to know the rules for the sake of your financial health.  

If you have questions about identity theft coverage or would like to speak to a qualified life insurance & annuity professional - just give our office a call.

 



 

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