Who is watching the Hen house?

Reading through CPA Practice Advisor, we came across an article about some IRS employees who ran schemes to collect personal information and file fraudulent returns to receive tax refunds.

Personal information these days are within arm’s reach it seems, hackers & scammers constantly changing the name of the game. We’re used to reading about it in the newspapers or watching it on the news stations, seemingly hyper-intelligent individuals using technology to attain information. Then you learn that the matter has come from within the IRS, that some employee has taken it upon themselves to steal your SSN and other personal tax information. Hopefully this does not happen often, but do we know how many other IRS employees are out there doing this? We won’t know until they are caught in the act, which could end up with them collecting a large sum of money, sometimes in the million dollar range. Not only is it SSN’s that are at risk of being stolen, Tax Identification Numbers can also be obtained illegally to file for fraudulent business tax returns.

Steps to protect yourself must be taken, for example keep your SSN in a safe location and only release it to businesses when its essential, also monitor credit reports from three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – that might indicate ID theft.

P.S. If you receive a call from people claiming to be from the IRS, hang up the phone, someone is trying to scam you. More than a few of our clients have received such calls in the past, remember that the IRS will only contact you by written correspondence through regular mail, never by phone or by email.