by Ann Andrews of Bargsley, Torato, Andrews & Steinbach, CPAs, LLC
We do everything we can do to protect our identities, and sometimes it’s not enough. What’s next? Damage control!
The Internal Revenue Service security system is a frequent target of ID theft, so we are all at risk. Problems in the system include:
Filing a return using a stolen Social Security number
Filing a return using a stolen bank account number
How can we respond?
- Know that IRS does not contact taxpayers by email to request money.
- Check your bank statements carefully and read your credit reports regularly.
- Open all mail from IRS as soon as you receive it. Read it carefully. Ask your CPA to interpret any items that are not clear to you.
- Report any suspicious communications to your local police and to IRS.
The longer you wait to report a problem, the more opportunity you give the thief to use your numbers. That translates into more problems to explain, correct & close. More time to wait on your refund to be given to you, its rightful owner.
This week, one of my clients received a large refund check from IRS. He has not even filed his 2013 tax return yet, so he’s not due a refund. He studied the check carefully and noticed that it contained his name and the name of another person. It was not the name of his wife, with whom he’d filed joint returns for about 20 years.
We recommended that he take that check to the Austin IRS office ASAP. He met with a very helpful representative who explained that it was a fraud situation, and corrected his account.
If you notice anything that does not seem right, study it, get help if you need it, and report it, so that corrective action can be taken.