First e-mail scam of the tax season


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First new IRS Scam e-mail popped into my inbox. Says there’s been an identity theft indicator on my account and references a CP01 Notice (this is an actual notice ID from the IRS about identity theft.

So, how do I know it’s bogus? First off, the IRS NEVER uses e-mail as a contact method – always postal service with signature or delivery confirmation. 2nd, it was sent to info@(my website), not a name, and lastly, the email to click on is forccis.com.br and the BR portion means Brazil…

I’m about to report this to the IRS as a phising scam. If you don’t know how to respond to scams like this, please check my blog post at: https://tomhodgecpa.wordpress.com/…/gotten-a-suspicious-ca…/

Please share this far & wide! There’s too many scams out there. Protect yourself as well as friends & family.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below:

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge
Founder

Hodge Group LLC
3943 N. Austin Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634

773.237.6369

IRS Agents Don’t Accept Payment Over The Phone


In recent years, many clients, friends & total strangers have reached out about getting calls ‘From The IRS’, demanding payment or a lawsuit will be filed, IRS (or police) are on their way to arrest you, or something similar unless you give them a credit card to pay the tax bill right now.  I always calm them down, explain how these calls aren’t from the IRS and are from scammers.  I’ve written posts about these scams in the past & how you can report the calls to the IRS – you can find that post here.

Recently IIMG_1277 heard something that should also ease your fears – while holding for an IRS agent and suffering through the hold music, there was an announcement I’d not heard before:  “Please be advised that IRS employees may not accept payments over the phone, only via mail, online through www.irs.gov, or in person”.  Seems the IRS has gotten the hint and are letting people know what methods may be be used for payments are made to the IRS.   Although not everyone will be on hold with the IRS to hear this announcement, kudos to them for finding a way to let the public know,

Seems almost everywhere we turn, there’s some new scam going on – it’s always good to be careful and keep up to date when new scams come to light.  Please feel free to share this post with your friends!

Please let me know if you’ve got any questions – lots of people get nervous (understandably!) when receiving a call from the IRS.  Please write your comments or questions below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge
President

Hodge Group LLC
3943 N. Austin Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

www.taxbillappeals.com – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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More Tax Related E-mail Scams in 2016


Here we are on January 15, 2016 (as I write this post) and already have received 2 new types of e-mail scams regarding your taxes.  I tend to get a number of them every year with my business and after reporting them to the IRS (if you don’t know how, follow this link), I try to publish the info on my Facebook and Linked In pages as well as here to let everyone know.  This post will be updated as we go through 2016 with any additional scams that I personally receive or I get copies of from friends or clients.

Back on January 10th, an email from “Turbotax(dot)services(at)myturbotax(dot)inuit(dot)com” that was sent to recipients, instead of my email and the header was “Your TurboTax Identity Verification”.  Please note I don’t use Turbo Tax (copyright of the Intuit Corporation) so I wouldn’t be getting an email from them about my Turbo Tax Identity…  Anyway, the email wanted me to ‘download the attached form and follow the instructions on your sreen’ (sic).  Normally these downloads are infected with Malware and/or the ask you to fill out a form that contains all your personal info so it’s a treasure trove for identity theft…7K0A0021

The next e-mail arrived last evening (Jan 14 2016) from ‘epayment(dot)ealert(at)mail(dot)com with the subject of “YOUR TAX EXEMPTION NOTIFICATION” (their caps).  The email showed on my email program as being from IRS Tax Revenue.  The e-mail (copied below) read:

Our records indicate that your resident address has been compromised.

As a result you are exempted from United States of America Tax reporting and withholdings on interest paid to you on your account and other financial benefits.

To protect yourgeneral-icons-23 exemption from tax on your account and other financial benefits, you need to recertify your exemption status and enable us confirm your records with us.

Therefore, you are to authenticate the following by completing the attachment IRS Tax Refund Form.

Please complete IRS Tax Refund Form (attached) and click the Submit Botton, to enable us confirm your records immediately.

If your records are not confirmed on time, you will lose your tax exempt benefits and your account or any other financial benefits will be subject to US tax reporting and back up withholding*

*If back up withholding applies, we are required to withhold 30% of the interest/benefits paid to you.

We appreciate your cooperation in helping us protect your exempt status and also confirm our records.

Sincerely,

Isabella Charlotte,

IRS Public Relations

 

How interesting a person from IRS Public Relations thinks I may be tax exempt because my resident address has been compromised?!!  Plus she wants me to confirm it?

Obviously another scam…  I certainly didn’t download the ‘2015 IRS Tax Refund form’ (another irony – I’ve not even filed my 2015 taxes yet!).

Be sure to read any emails carefully but don’t click on any links or attachments.  You can forward emails to ‘phishing@irs.gov’ and include the whole email so they get to see the headers, date/time, etc.

Anyone receive different scams?  Would love to hear from you – please fill out the contact form below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge, CPA
President

The Hodge Group
4118 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

www.taxbillappeals.com – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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IL Refunds For 2015 Delayed Until Mid-March 2016


On January 4, 2016, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) announced tax refunds won’t be released until ‘2 to 3 weeks after March 1, 2016’ due to enhanced fraud prevention.

IDOR also said you can still file your IL tax return (b7K0A0079oth electronically and by paper) when you normally prepare your return and electronic filing is preferred, with direct deposit of any refunds into a checking or savings account.

Per the IDOR website (full release here):

“Fraud prevention measures implemented by the Department of Revenue during last year’s tax season resulted in an overall savings of nearly $5 million that would have, otherwise, been paid,” said Connie Beard, IDOR Director. “Our new security protocols proved very beneficial in detecting and stopping fraudulently filed returns last year, and we are continuing to enhance our fraud detection efforts this year. By delaying tax refunds by just a few weeks, we’ll be able to better detect attempts at identity theft and ensure taxpayer refunds do not fall needlessly into the hands of criminals.”

 

You can always check the status of your refund on the IDOR website at:  http://www.revenue.state.il.us/Individuals/Refunds.htm.

Check back form any updates as I’ll update this as information is released.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge, CPA
President

The Hodge Group
4118 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

www.taxbillappeals.com – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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Gotten a suspicious call or email from the IRS?


If you follow me on Facebook, you’d know I recently got a voice mail from an “Agent Smith from the IRS” stating to IMMEDIATELY call his number as several IRS agents were en-route to arrest me for not paying my taxes. Since I’m up to date on my tax payments, I certainly wasn’t worried about agents coming by for a visit (and thankfully none did!)

Couple of my clients had received similar calls earlier this year, as have other people I know so don’t be surprised if you get a call like this.  If you do, get as much info as you can, including the person’s name (or whatever they’re willing to tell you), an Employee ID (all IRS employees have an ID number and are required to disclose it).  Also, be sure to record the day and time of the call, and the caller ID if you can.

You can then call 800.366.4484 to see if the call was legitimate.  If it wasn’t you should report the incident to TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) – here’s that link.

Other people have said they’d gotten emails from the IRS asking the person to send copies of their W2 or other personal info (bank info usually) so a return could be processed.  Unfortunately, these types of messages (email in particular) are usually scams or phishing schemes.  These emails should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov and then delete it from your system.

I went to the IRS website and found a page describing what to do in the event you get a ‘suspicious IRS-related communication’ – here’s the link.  There’s a bunch of good info there, including how to respond to schemes and where to report it, plus tips on preventing identity theft (an issue I discuss with all my clients and have a free handout on – click here for your copy).   I especially like the YouTube videos on identity theft that are linked from the IRS page.  The page also has additional info on dealing with suspect faxes (never had to deal with that), websites and texts (something I’ve not even heard of until now).  This is a good resource and recommend reviewing it and forwarding it to people that may need the info.

In my case, I did report the call to the IRS (sent an email to phishing@irs.gov – subject of “IRS Phone Scam”).  Also, I went to the TIGTA page  and filled in information. Recommend you do the same so the IRS can get more info on the scams and (hopefully) take some action to stop them.

Have you dealt with these scammers?  Would love to hear your stories and how you handled the calls, emails, faxes, etc.  Please contact me through the form below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge, CPA
President

The Hodge Group
4118 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

Best Tax Preparers Website

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