In my post on February 12th, Am I Blue, I warned about the massive cyber attack on Anthem Blue Cross. Please take a second look at it and follow one of the links to a credit-reporting agency and secure your credit profile and identity. Or, if you have Anthem Blue Cross, or had it as far back as 2004, you are eligible for free credit protection for two years from AllClear ID.
This link to the IRS website will reveal some of the ways identity thieves and cyber criminals are attacking us and what to do about it.
Yesterday in my office one of my partners showed the rest of us a notice he had received from the IRS on behalf of a client. Why did we get a copy of the notice? Because we file “Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative“ for all our clients. This form allows us to see client account activity on the IRS website, talk to the IRS about client matters, and receive copies of all correspondence.
The notice was for a high income client and indicated that their claim for a large tax refund would be delayed for up to 30 days while it was being investigated. Needless to say, my partner called the IRS immediately. As scary as this particular case is, it might rank up there on one of those dumb criminal television shows because of the staggering amount of the refund being claimed. But, according to the IRS, from 2008 through May of 2012, more than 550,000 taxpayers have had their identities stolen for the purpose of claiming false refunds in their names. The IRS (US Treasury) paid $5.8 Billion in fraudulent tax refunds in 2014 (for 2013 tax returns) due to taxpayer identity theft!
The moral of the story is to protect yourself. Lock down your credit and have your CPA file Form 2848 on your behalf so they can see everything the IRS sends to you in the mail. Remember, the IRS does not make phone calls or send emails!