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DISCLAIMER –

Before reading this week’s blog, please read the following out loud slowly.

THE IRS DOES NOT SEND EMAILS TO TAXPAYERS NOR WILL THEY CALL YOU AND HAVE YOU VERIFY YOUR IDENTITY OR ASK YOU TO PAY YOUR TAX OWED WITH iTunes Gift Cards.

In the time of COVID, we are all doing more online.  It is easy, simple all you have to do is click.  The hackers know this, and they are working overtime to steal your identity and your money.

WAS THERE A FULL MOON MONDAY?

Monday morning, and I was the hacking victim.   Despite all of the precautions I take to protect my online identity, I received a notification text Monday from Chase Credit Card Services.  I have notifications turned on for all credit card transactions over $50.00.   This charge was for $1,284.76 at tires.com, aka Discount Tire.  The card in question is in my money clip.  Someone somewhere had accessed my account and now had four or more nice tires.  A quick call to Chase to stop the shenanigans and have a new credit card on the way to us.

Later on Monday, I received this email:

Subject: I JUST GOT A CALL FROM THE IRS!

I just got a call from the IRS, and the lady said we never submitted a 941 for the second half of 2019.

 She gave me the last four digits of our EIN  and her name and number

 She said she couldn’t talk directly with my CPA, but I could call her back and bring you on the line

 Her name is Chona Cruz, and her number is 469-XXX-XXXX

 She said the IRS doesn’t give them an email address that is reachable externally.

  She has time to talk tomorrow at 11:30 or 3:00

  Is this a scam?

 I responded immediately with a YES

LIVING IN THE DIGITAL AGE

The more business we do and information we share online, the more identity theft becomes a growing threat to our financial security. There are ways you can help protect your name and credit. Here are five tips to help keep you and your family safe.

Monitor Your Accounts

Monitoring goes for everything you have financially — credit cards, banks, brokerages, credit unions — as well as email and social networking accounts. You should also monitor your phone bills (both cell and landline for those of you that still have one), as thieves can “piggyback” on your plans.

But above all, be sure to check your monthly financial statements carefully. If you notice something strange — even if it is just for a small amount — call the issuing financial institution immediately and report it.

Google yourself

You should Google yourself periodically to see what type of information about you or your family is publicly available. You may be in for a surprise.

Shred Sensitive Documents

You don’t have to shred every piece of mail you receive, but anything with account numbers or other personal data should be shredded. It would be best if you also were sure to shred certain pieces of junk mail — especially those unsolicited pre-approved credit card offers that seem to show up in your mailbox weekly.

Opt-Out

You can further reduce or even eliminate these nuisance offers by opting out of the lists aggregated by credit bureaus, who then sell your name to lenders. Go to www.optoutprescreen.com or call 888-567-8688 to get your name off these lists.

Check Your Credit Reports

The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives all American consumers the right to access their credit reports from the big three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) for free once a year. Many unscrupulous firms will offer access to these reports for a fee or on a subscription basis. You shouldn’t pay anything for this access. To get the reports, go directly to the source: www.annualcreditreport.com.

Got something on your mind or have a question?

All of this can occur even at a distance.

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Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ● CEO
Registered Principal | Tannery & Company

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 The opinions expressed in this material are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.  Individual circumstances do vary.