Soon the telephone calls will begin. Clients will either tell us that they are the victims of a phishing scam, or ask us whether or not they have a tax problem. This is because scammers know that people are preparing their taxes at this time of year and thinking about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They will pretend to be IRS representatives in order to rob taxpayers. Older people in particular fall victim to these scams. Just as senior citizens are our most dutiful voters, so to do they try and pay their taxes honestly and before they are due.
Here are some helpful rules to follow that come directly from IRS.GOV:
• As a general rule, the IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails or ask for detailed personal information. Additionally, the IRS does not ask people for the PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank or other financial accounts
• Be skeptical of communications you receive from sources you are not expecting. Verify the authenticity of phone calls, standard mail, faxes or e-mails of questionable origin before responding.
• Do not reveal passwords, PINs or other security-based data to third parties; genuine organizations or institutions do not need your secret data for ordinary business transactions.
• Do not click on links in questionable e-mails; instead, go directly to the site already known to be genuine. For example, the only address for the IRS Web site is www.irs.gov — any other variations on this will not lead to the legitimate IRS Web site.
• Do not open attachments to questionable e-mails; they may contain viruses that will infect your computer.
• Shred paper documents containing private financial information before discarding.
If you have any questions or concerns, we are here to help you. Never hesitate to call us.