6 Tips to Protect Yourself from IRS Scams and Tax Fraud

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DARRIN T. MISH: Good Morning, and welcome to the IRS solution attorney show. I am the IRS solution attorney.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Indeed, he is… I’m your cohost Katrina Madewell. Thanks so much for joining us today.

DARRIN T. MISH: It is great to be here today, it is nice and sunny outside, it’s a beautiful day and the traffic wasn’t too bad this morning.

KATRINA MADEWELL: No, thank goodness. Compared to last week, the traffic was awesome. Alright Pat, kill the music, getting carried away there. If you and Charlie want to talk you know, we can just throw a microphone in front of the both of you.

DARRIN T. MISH: That would be really interesting actually. And if you want to call the show, and ask some questions, or talk about IRS.

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KATRINA MADEWELL: Or pressing matters.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, you can give us a call at 888-404-1010.

KATRINA MADEWELL: And if you’re just catching the show for the first time, the mission of this show here with Darrin and myself is he’s the expert on the IRS. Every week, we talk about the IRS, audits, all these crazy IRS terms.

DARRIN T. MISH: Taxes and all the things we like to talk about and think about in our everyday life. I was just talking to Charlie, the office manager this morning that regular people don’t think about taxes or the IRS every day. But that’s what I do, and I commit myself and my career too.

KATRINA MADEWELL: So even if you’re listening and you don’t have an IRS problem, you’ll more than likely know someone who does, so ask them to tune in.

DARRIN T. MISH: So today we’re going to talk about 6 tips to protect yourself from IRS scams and tax fraud. There’s a lot of that going on out there and we thought how to avoid it, if possible.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Must be the season for scams in general.

DARRIN T. MISH: I think the season for scams and scammers is 365/24/7.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Yeah, probably. we’re just hearing a lot about it recently.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, I think with the popularity of social media, and we’re on social media so much nowadays I think news like scams and whatnot, it travels a lot faster.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Seems like a lot of the books, like I’m reading a book right now, and the first chapter is referencing to social media and how it relates to whatever they’re going to talk about later in the book.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, social media is just really incredible phenomenon, don’t you think? I mean on the way to the station, I make sure to always make a post, to make sure people know when it’s live. Because that’s where we’re spending more and more of our time. I find myself watching less and less television

KATRINA MADEWELL: Right, well you don’t need to. Any breaking news story, you’ll find it on social media.

DARRIN T. MISH: Right, you’re going to see it within 2-3 minutes of logging back on to Facebook.

PAT GEORGE: Twitter, especially. If you tweet, and you want to keep up, I think there are a lot of new stations they follow Twitter on all day long

KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m a Tweeter yeah, breaking news always happens on Twitter first. And you know businesses always pay attention to Twitter.  I know because we tweet them when they don’t act right.

PAT GEORGE: You know, I never really followed Twitter that much until I was watching a Nascar race, and when Dale Earnhardt Sr hit the wall and died, I was on there and an EMT posted it on there saying he’s gone before they even said.

KATRINA MADEWELL: I know, it was already on Twitter, that’s how it travels…news travels so fast and I don’t know why Twitter is so different, but they really are.

PAT GEORGE: It’s instant.

KATRINA MADEWELL: And it’s funny. Myself and some friends in some other states and areas would tweet late at night, have some wine and these tweets would have direct messages that weren’t public, and a couple of them were public and that was fun.

DARRIN T. MISH: And you know, even Donald Trump using Twitter, that guy has really leveraged the political to the max.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Even Obama and all of them are using all the social feeds especially Twitter.

DARRIN T. MISH: So there was an interesting new story about Obama’s official Twitter feed was following some perhaps some inappropriate stars triple x kind of people so that was kind of interesting. Obviously, he is not being followed because you cannot prevent that but they were following. Obviously, he is the president and he’s not managing his Twitter account but someone is and it’s interesting.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You’d be surprised a lot of high profile people do manage their Twitter accounts, and it is the only one they manage. Not always, but a lot of them do. For example, Dave Ramsey, he personally manages his Twitter account.

DARRIN T. MISH: Wow, that’s fascinating.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Someone else manages the other ones. But, if you follow his Twitter, he every now and then throws people to the wolves and it’s massive.

PAT GEORGE: Matt Lauer has spoken to my wife through Twitter.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Yes, one of my friends has written a book called The Digital Handshake and the premise of the whole book is that the CEO’s of the big corporations can no longer hide behind the glass walls kind of thing and Twitter has exposed that.

DARRIN T. MISH: Several years ago, I was on Twitter and I was following an industry leader, and I had a moment of interaction with him, and I found myself sitting behind him at a seminar and so I then followed him around trying to introduce myself to the conversation that he was having with other people and finally did. That ended up being a fruitful partnership that made me quite a bit of money just because I introduced myself on Twitter.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Well, Twitter is a great way, like if you’re at a conference to catch up on things that maybe other people are hearing or if you missed the conference, you can watch the Twitter feed, like whatever the hashtag is, it’s like you’re there.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, I’m not sure how we got on this extended social media conversation.

KATRINA MADEWELL: That’s okay, got to make it fun every now and again because not everybody has direct relations with our 6 tips to protect yourself from IRS scams and tax fraud.

DARRIN T. MISH: So, the first tip would be to ask before you share. I remember when I was a child, or a teenager in the 80’s when I got my social security card, it said on the card not to be used for any other purpose, and I think that was the law at least back then and somewhere along the line, the social security number has been used for more and more things by private companies so the point of this tip…

KATRINA MADEWELL: It’s almost your fingerprint nowadays.

DARRIN T. MISH: For sure, it’s exactly what they didn’t want to happen. It’s your single government number. We’ve talked about this on the show before, infants can’t even get out of the hospital anymore without having a social security number. I think that’s interesting that the government wants that to happen so quickly. But ask before you give, especially a private company your social security number. If they don’t need it, then don’t share it with them because now if someone has your name via social media they can probably get your date of birth or close. They can probably look up your address. And if they have your social security number, they can probably steal your identity.

KATRINA MADEWELL: It’s absolutely enough to steal your identity. When we pull a credit report, that is all we need. Your full, legal name, your date of birth, your social security number and your address, and guess what…if you own any kind of property, boom there’s your address… Address? probably on Facebook. Social security, name, the rest is history.

DARRIN T. MISH: So if you have a business address, you might want to use that on your social media, so that your home address isn’t so apparent.

KATRINA MADEWELL: And again, if you owe property, it’s going to be on there.

DARRIN T. MISH: That’s for sure. So people who are skilled in searching public records in Florida, all your deeds and mortgages you can find online, can find them within I don’t know, 30 seconds.

KATRINA MADEWELL: So guard your social security number. What about tax ids? Do you think that would fall under the same?

DARRIN T. MISH: I don’t think you know the FIN’s aren’t as sensitive. If you don’t have to use it, don’t use it. But, I don’t think they are as sensitive because it’s a bit harder to steal a business identity than to steal someone’s identity. I guess at some point the government has to come up with some extra security to come up with.

KATRINA MADEWELL: They do actually, on some of them because I’ve had some that are in the process of buying a property, and then what happens in the state of Florida now, is they have the 4506-T which you’re probably familiar with so they can verify your tax transcript is the same as what you gave the IRS. Well, these people were hijacking their information and filing a tax return to get the refund. So, by the time they are actually ready to file their own taxes, it’s already been done, so they’ll have a pin.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, come to think of it, the IRS for people that have made an identity theft complaints are assigning pins to those taxpayers but I was talking more, I think eventually we’ll all end up having our own pins and it would be kind of interesting if we could log in to our own sort of social security account somewhere and change the pin whenever we wanted to.

KATRINA MADEWELL: I have a feeling that it is a lot more advanced than the IRS is but it would be a great idea

DARRIN T. MISH: When we come back, we can talk about the other 5 tips to protect yourself from IRS scams and Tax Fraud.

KATRINA MADEWELL: And watch out for the wi feed…the wifi, just kidding. You’re listening to the IRS solution attorney show, we’ll be back in a few minutes and we’ll do our best to make it fun and add a little Twitter and Facebook on there if you have a question for Darrin Mish that is related to the IRS or tax related he can likely answer it for you and you can reach him this morning at 888-404-1010.

(commercial break)

KATRINA MADEWELL: Welcome back, you’re listening to the IRS solution attorney show with…

DARRIN T. MISH: Mr. Darrin T. Mish, the IRS attorney.

KATRINA MADEWELL: And I’m your cohost, keeping the conversation fun, Katrina Madewell. Thanks for sticking around through the break.

DARRIN T. MISH: The things she just said are not fun, I think she said I’m not fun.

PAT GEORGE: I don’t think that’s exactly what she said.

KATRINA MADEWELL: No, I didn’t.

DARRIN T. MISH: That is true, you say stuff that attorneys can’t talk about every show.

KATRINA MADEWELL: I know, we got to keep it fun. So, today’s show is all about 6 tips to protect yourself from IRS scams and tax fraud and the first one is to ask before you share. Be a little guarded against that social security number.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, when you go to the coffee shop, and they ask you for your social security number, you don’t have to give it to them. Not necessary for them to have your social security number in order to buy an 8-dollar cup of coffee.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You know, I’m so guarded against that, literally if I am in a coffee shop and I’m not in my office, if someone is writing down my information to pull credit, I literally have them write it down, just so they’re not saying it out loud in a coffee shop.

PAT GEORGE: Well you don’t think that’s a good idea because there could be two Bob’s in there or two Katrina’s so write down the number right there on the coffee cup there so no one could.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Oh, stop it Pat! He’s always got something fun to say, doesn’t he?

DARRIN T. MISH: Have you seen the meme on Facebook where a guy gave the person the name of Bueller, and then left the coffee shop so the person would be saying Bueller, Bueller.

KATRINA MADEWELL: No, I didn’t see that.

PAT GEORGE: I only did that once.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You’re giving some ideas, you know.

DARRIN T. MISH: That’s probably where I got it from, was from Pat George’s Facebook page

KATRINA MADEWELL: So, right on track with our second tip is watch the Wi-Fi.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, you know we’re so accustomed to using fee Wi-Fi all the time, you need to think about whose Wi-Fi you’re using and if people can get into your computer or even intercept the information as it’s going through their Wi-Fi. Also people are setting up fake hotspots where you’re tapping into their computer in order to access the internet and if you’re doing sensitive stuff on your computer, phone or device, it’s theoretically possible for that information to be intercepted

KATRINA MADEWELL: And this day and age, there’s just too much information on your computer period, whether it’s saved on your hard drive or in your email, it’s just too much information.

DARRIN T. MISH: Absolutely, and once someone can get their social security number, they can actually try and file. The whole point of this show is that once someone has your name, social security number, and your address, they can file a false tax return and try and claim tax refunds and you got a problem. You won’t get your refund because the way the IRS works is the first person that files is basically presented…

KATRINA MADEWELL: Which is crazy and ridiculous because just heard a story which so isn’t the case.

DARRIN T. MISH: Absolutely and Tampa seems the be the center of this situation. I have a funny story about this. The Tampa police, I happen to know a detective who I think was involved in the story, he does a lot of drug investigation and drug crimes. They noticed there was this one individual in a low-income area that was driving around in a chromed car. The car was literally chromed, the entire thing.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You’re talking about Pat George’s car.

PAT GEORGE: Not my car.

DARRIN T. MISH: So this guy’s car is chromed and they are following him around and he’s not involved in any drug activity but he doesn’t fit the profile of someone that would have the funds to have a chromed car, at least in their opinion.

KATRINA MADEWELL: 14 Karat Gold.

DARRIN T. MISH: So eventually they pulled him over and they found hundreds of tax refund checks and I forget how many credit cards but this guy was engaged in. He was like an early adopter of the tax fraud stuff and he figured out how to file false tax returns and how to claim large refunds and that is how they eventually caught him. So local TPD, Tampa police department goes to the IRS, they say we got this guy, you need to prosecute this guy and the IRS was hands off, they didn’t know what to do and they really at first didn’t want to take any action.

KATRINA MADEWELL: The problem is, they don’t, because many times, these crimes are committed in many areas so you have local police pointing at the other police in a different state and they say it’s FBI matter and guess where that ranks on the priority list.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, exactly. I once had a fraud problem, wasn’t tax fraud but it was a fraud problem where someone had stolen my identity and opened an account with Dell Computers, where I never did business with and ordered $8,000 worth of computers and they were sent to an address in the Bronx. Well, at that point, actually I don’t think I never been to New York City at that point and I still have never been to the Bronx.

KATRINA MADEWELL: There are some addresses that just should be flagged, Bronx, Miami.

DARRIN T. MISH: You know there are some people in the Bronx right now listening wondering what we have against them.

KATRINA MADEWELL: I know, we’re just teasing.

DARRIN T. MISH: So all these computers were sent to this address in the Bronx and I didn’t really know what to do and I was an attorney at the time. I called the police, and made a report and they said what did I want them to do about it and they said call NYPD, so I called NYPD and how do you think that worked out.

KATRINA MADEWELL: They probably just hung up.

DARRIN T. MISH: No, they didn’t hang up but they were just – you know we’re busy with real crime and stuff – so than I was on like a personal mission and I called the secret service. A lot of people don’t know this but the Secret Services has two jurisdictions. One, they protect the President, obviously, that’s their most famous mission but they also handle counterfeiting and credit card fraud as well. So I called the local secret service here in Tampa and they were like yeah, not really our thing so I called the FBI, and the FBI agent was really nice. I talked to him for about half an hour and he just basically said there is so much of this happening there just nothing we can do about it. I spent like 30 hours trying to clean it up. I called Dell, saying this isn’t me, I didn’t open this account. They were really skeptical and wrote letter after letter.

PAT GEORGE: Well, you know there’s a fraud, I don’t know if you listened to this show early this morning. The fraud that was going on with Robby earlier that apparently someone placed an ad and said we need someone that would like to work from home and buy products for us for our company. So, the person that answered the ad and they said okay we’re going to send you a check and what we want you to do, we want you to deposit it. Keep 400 for yourself and then send the 2500 to this address and it had Robby’s signature on it, close to his signature on it, had his name and has his account number.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You know; I have to give my bank kudos. Bank of Regions for my corporate account and they are spot on. They know if something’s not right, they call. They know.

PAT GEORGE: And you want to be with a bank that does that.

KATRINA MADEWELL: I get text message alerts so If I get something wild, I’m going to see it on my phone right away.

DARRIN T. MISH: I think the banks, I have a number of credit cards and I have had a number of credit card companies and banks alert me of fraud. Sometimes if I’m in Tampa and my credit card just got ran in LA for gas and I don’t know how they do it, but it makes sense why they do it because their ultimately the ones holding the bag and we’re the ones paying increased fees and interest rates things like that.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Especially for credit cards, it’s like a loan, and if you didn’t make it, you have that protection. Bank accounts are a little harder.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah I think your debit card doesn’t have the same protections as a credit card does but the bank seems to still be able to pick up the slack when that happens even on a debit card because they don’t want the bad publicity and they want you to keep paying with them and whatnot. I sure am glad they do it. I wish I kind of knew how they did it, how they figure out if you jump a plane this morning and you fly out to LA for example and I swipe my card for gas in the rental car, how do they know it’s actual me.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Well for one, they’re going to chip technology and they’re going to pick that up, and they can tell the card is swiped or manually entered.

DARRIN T. MISH: Well in my case, they cloned my card and it was actually put in the gas pump, but I’m not sure how they know, I agree with you know. The chips are coming out but still, only half of the plastic has a chip on it so some of it is like. I’m not really sure how they do it, but like I said, I’m glad they do.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Well I know mine is really good at calling, messaging or texting if they think it’s not me, so I give them kudos. But we’re on a first name basis so get on a first name basis with your banker. That’s not a bad plan.

DARRIN T. MISH: That might be a little harder on some of the larger institutions but I guess with your local s branch that could work.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Exactly, and they have a lot of pull, they could help you. Alright so tip number 3 in our 6 tips to protect yourself from IRS scams and Tax Fraud is; protect your PC.

DARRIN T. MISH: Absolutely, you need to have your computer password protected especially if you’re at work so if you are accessing your personal information like we all do on our PC than anyone just walking by can’t look at your spreadsheet and get your passwords or your financial information.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You know, when we’re so heavily regulated as real estate agents that when we have information stored in the cloud, even if it’s a contract with a lot of personal information on it, but anything we have to have two passwords. Password on my phone, and then a password before you access Dropbox or wherever the cloud storage is.

DARRIN T. MISH: I sure am glad to hear that.

KATRINA MADEWELL: It’s required.

DARRIN T. MISH:  Real Estate agents and brokers, that kind of thing, they really have a lot of personal information. For our clients, we definitely have enough.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Especially for mortgage people and the scary part of is when the height of the market was collapsing, a lot of those companies went under and so much of the information was just trashed and not disposed of properly.

DARRIN T. MISH: Well, sure that makes sense.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Well, you’re listening to the IRS solution attorney show with Mr. Darrin T Mish, I’m your cohost, Katrina Madewell, thanks so much for sticking around, we’ll be back after the break. If you have a question related to the IRS or tax frauds, we are in the studio today and would be delighted to talk to you. 888-404-1010.

PAT GEORGE: By the way, we just had a caller. She didn’t have a question, she just wanted you to know, Darrin, she loves your voice.

DARRIN T. MISH: Nice

KATRINA MADEWELL: I saw you talking to somebody back there, I thought you hung up on them Pat.

(commercial break)

DARRIN T. MISH: Welcome back to the IRS solution attorney show. I am the IRS solution attorney.

KATRINA MADEWELL: And I am your cohost, Katrina Madewell. What song is that Pat? What is that?

DARRIN T. MISH: So Pat, on the other side of the board there, he is showing us his smiling face

KATRINA MADEWELL: And he’s smiling because we had a caller that said she loves your voice Darrin.

DARRIN T. MISH: Well, that’s very nice, that’s very flattering, and I’m happy to hear it.

PAT GEORGE: This is a good fraud song.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Never heard it, way before my time.

DARRIN T. MISH: I’m thinking it might be before my time which is sort of interesting.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Pat, you’re aging yourself.

DARRIN T. MISH: I like this song, well that kind of leads into what we’re going to talk about next and that is; be skeptical, you should have a healthy dose of suspicion at all times, don’t respond to unsolicited emails. I mean, this is going on a lot lately. I get emails every single day from what seems to be the IRS. Here’s a newsflash.

KATRINA MADEWELL: A lot of older people too.

DARRIN T. MISH: For sure. Here’s the newsflash, the IRS doesn’t use email. They’ll use it internally but you will never get an email from the IRS soliciting any kind of personal information. They just don’t do it; they just can’t figure out how to do it.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Such a great tip of the day.

DARRIN T. MISH: The other thing is, now this is really common and I’ve had gotten this phone calls. We get these calls really every day, clients or prospects calling us saying they got these calls. If you get a call or the voicemail says the IRS is about to arrest you or file a lawsuit against you, or the sheriff is coming, or anything like that, that’s a scam.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Ironically, that happened to you.

DARRIN T. MISH: It has happened to my wife, to me.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Of all the people to call.

DARRIN T. MISH: I actually have gotten them on the phone live and I had a ball, it was really fun.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Too bad you couldn’t record it, that would be really nice for air replay.

DARRIN T. MISH: And what I did, I’m kind of ornery, and it’s a Saturday morning too and I was just lounging around and this guy calls me and gets me out of bed and so I started calling him back and eventually they turned the phone number off immediately. So what they’re doing is they’re in East Asia. They’re in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. They just have sweatshops full of people making these fraud calls. their English isn’t exactly perfect. Over in East Asia, they are raised to learn to speak English-English, not American English so even their sentence pattern and their vocabulary will be significantly different from here. By the way, the IRS is not going to call you if they’re going to file a lawsuit against you or arrest you. They’re either going to file the lawsuit and you’re going to find out about it is if you get served with a lawsuit.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Then you’re going to call Darrin.

DARRIN T. MISH: If, by some strange circumstances you’re going to be arrested, they’re going to show up.

KATRINA MADEWELL: The feds are going to show up. The gold badge people.

DARRIN T. MISH: A whole bunch of people in gold badges and guns are going to show up, they’re going to put you in a car, and they will take you to jail, that’s what’s going to happen. And they’re not going to call ahead of time say, hey, if you give us $1000, this will all go away. I have told this story on the show before about the lady who gave this guy $30,000 worth of ITunes gift cards. Now this one still has me scratching my head. I didn’t know when the government started accepting ITunes gift cards.

KATRINA MADEWELL: I just don’t get how the conversation could be so believable that someone would fall for that.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah they must be really skilled, and they prey on the elderly and the people who do have tax problems because I get these panic calls from clients where they say “Darrin, I thought you were handling this. I say” wait a minute, I am handling this, what are you talking about?” They say someone just called me and they made all these threats and I say well did they have an east Indian accent by any chance, they said well yeah he did. I said well yeah it’s just one of those scam phone calls that you kind of have to talk people off the ledge.

KATRINA MADEWELL: But, the timing can be a little good.

DARRIN T. MISH: If you have not filed your taxes for a long time, and it’s been in the back of your mind for a long time and one of these people call you, you’re going to think it’s real because it is sort of real in your mind, so just be skeptical.

KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m curious, if you’re listening to the show and you have a scam, a story or a call you could share, we would really appreciate it. The call-in lines are 888-404-1010 or someone you know that has experienced that, 888-404-1010, and the topic for today’s show is 6 tips to protect yourself from IRS scams and Tax Fraud

DARRIN T. MISH: And really, we’re just talking about scams and fraud in general. Now, another thing to think about is secure your personal items, now what I’m talking about it, the papers you throw away in the trash and think nothing of it, you can’t do that anymore because people actually go through the trash looking for credit card offers. So yeah, you got to get rid of that stuff. So I have a trashcan story, because I have a story for everything, right Katrina.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You always have a story.

DARRIN T. MISH: So, at one point early in my career, way before shredders were even a thing, and before this kind of fraud stuff was really a problem, we had done a lot of direct mail to people who have tax liens. So we had this giant stack of this direct mail that were spoiled somehow and there was a typo on it, so I would say maybe 400-500 pieces of paper that went straight in our trash in the office. Then a janitor would take the trash and accidently put it in the wrong trash bin outside. A few hours later, the tenant of the building that used the trashcan came storming over and plopped all this trash in front of me and basically read me the riot act for using their trash bin. It was at that moment, early 2000’s, late 90’s when I realized wow, I’m glad this wasn’t a client confidential information. That kind of stuff needs to go through the shredder so that was my first introduction.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Yeah, anyone can intercept that.

DARRIN T. MISH: All this stuff, by the way, was public record, there were no client confidential information whatsoever but the thought occurred to me wait I have to be really clear on what’s going through the shredder, and what’s going in the trash bin. So, now at the office, we have shredder bins and we use a company. Not only do they shred the paper, but then they recycle the paper so there is no way it could

KATRINA MADEWELL: I’ll give you a story as well. When my husband Chris and I bought our first house and at the time, I was doing my own loan. But we bought a home with a builder. The builder isn’t around anymore but this particular builder took some basic information like our name, our address, our social security numbers, even though they weren’t doing the loan, they had an escrow check where we wrote a good faith deposit which is kind of normal, right? So they didn’t have a lot of information on myself and my husband because we did our own loan. Well, when they cleared out the model center, they took all these files and folders from people who lived in the neighborhood, and they dumped them in an empty lot. This was a new neighborhood at the time and word traveled fast. Those weren’t even the social media days but people were literally knocking on each other’s doors saying hey you better come down to this lot and look for your file because there is a lot of personal information in here. The next thing you know, there are hundreds of people there and the builder tried to send his assistant in the wolves den and they were like no you’re not taking any of this information back. You didn’t want it, you dumped it. The news was there it was crazy.

DARRIN T. MISH: What a great story. Yeah, you got to secure those personal items.

KATRINA MADEWELL: The bad part is, they didn’t have very much information on ours but they had many people who had files in there that had full tax returns, bank statements, all kinds of stuff in there.

DARRIN T. MISH: You have to scratch your head and wonder who thought it was a good idea to dump papers.

KATRINA MADEWELL: In an empty lot! All open. Now, everything is so protected, I would say most. You would have more of a chance, like you said, the trashcan story where you threw away a preapproved credit card offer or something like that. That instance, that story than was many moons ago.

DARRIN T. MISH: My personal opinion is every household should have a shedder of some sort or some way to dispose of that information.

KATRINA MADEWELL: In my neighborhood, all the paper pays for the youth program so we try and recycle as much paper as we can there. However, anything that is personal gets shredded like even in the credit card offers, they will have a number on there. I will shred that and throw the rest of the junk away like what the APR is and anything that has my personal information on it.

DARRIN T. MISH: See, you work harder than I do. I just throw the unopened envelope into the shredder

KATRINA MADEWELL: No, that is so easy to put together.

DARRIN T. MISH: No, I shred it. I put the whole thing in the shredder.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Don’t, you have to open the envelope, Darrin.

DARRIN T. MISH: Oh geez. Ok, from now on, I will open the envelope and donate all my junk paper to my local youth paper recycle center.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Yes, I will give you the address. So just to recap what we’re talking about today. 6 tips to protect yourself from IRS scams and tax frauds. Ask before you share; don’t readily give out your Social Security number. Number two is; watch out for Wi-Fi. Number 3 was; protect your PC, and number 4 is; secure your personal items. Number 5 is; be skeptical.

DARRIN T. MISH: Number 6 is; check your default settings on your computer and your social media sites. That’s kind of why we were talking about social media so much when we first started the show is that a lot of the default settings, especially on Facebook, are pretty much open and the trend seems to be in the industry, and the apps and the software, in general, to allow the company to gather as much personal information as humanly possible, or in this case not humanly possible, computer possible. You just have to be careful, because as more of your information gets out there in cyber stream, the more chances of some company you do business with. Say Target, for example, has a cyber breach and now your identity information is all over the place and it ends up in Russia, Ukraine, these countries in Eastern Europe where the US government can’t really reach them. I think that’s what happened to me and my identity theft issues is because I buy a lot of stuff online, I think someone had a data breach and my information just ended up out there on the Internet, so I have to use a monitoring program so I’m aware instantly when anything happens on my credit file. Any new accounts, I happen to use Credit Check Total, there’s Lifelock, a whole bunch of companies like that.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You can use a prepaid gift card that has like MasterCard or Visa and could transfer money to whatever you’re buying online.

DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, for sure, especially if you already had a problem and you’re gun shy, you could definitely use a prepaid gift card or credit card if you needed to.

KATRINA MADEWELL: And the other thing too, talking about this in the earlier days of Facebook and such, all the information was out there, they changed it so now you have to change the default settings to what people can see, but before they did that, they had companies like Spokeo and they would go in and swoop all this information and now they just have it all there and re-sell it.

DARRIN T. MISH: And no, a lot of the information shows up on Google if you have an uncommon name, it shows up on the first page of results and it will tell you the username, the name, the address, known associates, all that scary stuff you wouldn’t know that is public.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You’re listening to the IRS solution attorney show, we are going to answer a couple of questions we got from our listeners after the break, then we will get into the train wreck of the week. If you have a question, call in. 888-404-1010. We’ll be back in a minute.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You stinker, Pat. You’re listening to the IRS solution attorney show. I’m your cohost Katrina Madewell and Pat George back there on the board likes to pop the mics on when Darrin and I are chatting during the break.

PAT GEORGE: Trying to catch her.

KATRINA MADEWELL: You’re not going to catch me.

(Commercial Break)

DARRIN T. MISH: So, we were chatting on the break and lucky for us, there are these bright red lights that come on the microphones so he did not successfully catch us.

PAT GEORGE: I don’t catch you too much but I can get her.

KATRINA MADEWELL: He thinks he does.

PAT GEORGE: I’ll get you on your show tomorrow.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Okay, you do that, we’re giving away Journey tickets so you might want to tune in.

DARRIN T. MISH: Journey, now that dates us a little bit.

KATRINA MADEWELL: 4 packs of Journey tickets.

DARRIN T. MISH: Remember if you have an IRS tax debt, and you can’t stop believing it will get better.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Come on Pat, cue it up, you’re slowing down.

DARRIN T. MISH: Unless you’re married to an IRS employee, I don’t think we need to be talking about loving, touching and squeezing.

KATRINA MADEWELL: If you have a question, you can call in, 888-404-1010. We have a question from Jimmy. He says he has an offer of compromise (OIC) accepted by the IRS 5 years ago and I’m in serious jeopardy of defaulting on my tax payments for this quarter, what should I do? Before you do that, explain what an offer of compromise is.

DARRIN T. MISH: An offer in compromise is when you can make a deal and settle for less with the IRS, the amount of the offer is based on a simple math equation that I’m not going to go into. You stay current for 5 years which means you file your tax returns and pay your tax debts if you have one for 5 years, otherwise, you default and all the taxes that were compromised will come roaring back.

KATRINA MADEWELL: Jimmy’s question is it looks like it’s been almost 5 years ago.

DARRIN T. MISH: I think Jimmy is in decent shape because it sounds like he’s talking about his quarterly estimated tax payments so he’s in danger of being late on. I never have seen a defaulted quarterly payment, but what I would suggest to Jimmy is if you know you’re going to owe for this tax year, what I would do is file an extension so you could file that return later and pay it during the 6 months. Now, if you just can’t do it, go ahead and file the return. The IRS will give you a chance to cure the default. Believe it or not, the IRS wants you to succeed unlike other government situations. they will bend over backwards. They will give you multiple chances to cure that.

KATRINA MADEWELL: But you know if you get that deal, you probably shouldn’t screw it up, just saying.

DARRIN T. MISH: Please don’t, it’s a deal of the century.

KATRINA MADEWELL: We didn’t get to Missy’s question. Alright, Missy we’ll answer your question right after the train wreck of the week.

DARRIN T. MISH: it is that time of the show, where I call the IRS train wreck of the week. It’s about a client, he owed more money to the IRS than they thought he could afford to pay. This story, I had an attorney come in, and she was a really busy, busy trial attorney. She was always traveling around the country, defending her clients and she was just too busy to file tax returns. I know, it sounds kind of funny, but she was always getting her W2’s but could never get around to filing her tax return. She was going through a divorce and a custody thing. There were all these things, so when she came to me, she hadn’t filed in 8-10 years and we were working on getting her caught up. IRS issued her notices of deficiency for 2009-2010. If a tax payer doesn’t file a tax return, the IRS will eventually file a return for them. Called FFR’s. What the IRS does is add up all the income and multiply it by the tax rate and no deductions, and they rack you with a big bill. In this case, this individual, she owed 209,516 and change. So over 200 grand. This was quite a shocking revelation to her. So what we did was file court tax petitions to stop the IRS. She had refunds on both taxes so we Zeroed out on both.

KATRINA MADEWELL: So Missy had a question, how likely is it the IRS will seize her new car. Is it better if she buys an older car that costs less or will they take her car?

DARRIN T. MISH: Never had a client that had their car seized, don’t worry about it Missy, and you won’t have any equity on it anyway.

KATRINA MADEWELL: If you have an IRS question, please feel free to call 888-404-1010.

DARRIN T. MISH: And for today, we are out.

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