Tampa, Florida has been identified as one of the cities of high identity theft in the country, the others being Miami, Atlanta, Birmingham, AL, Washington D.C., Chicago, New York, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, according to the IRS. Tampa is one of the areas covered in a 23-state federal sweep targeting check-cashing operations and other businesses. The IRS says identity theft is most commonly carried out as stealing social security numbers from places like schools and hospitals.
In view of this, Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency Deputy Chief Investigator Eric Olsen advises people not to give out their Social Security numbers unless absolutely necessary. Olsen said, “If its a routine application for a telephone, it may not be necessary. It may not even be required. Often times, the last four digits of a social security number will suffice.”
If you receive email purported to be from the IRS, you should not entertain them. The IRS never contacts you via email.
“Do not give any information to them,” Olsen said. “Then call the IRS, the local office, or whichever agency may be attempting to contact you, to verify whether thats the case.”
Last year, the IRS stopped about $1.4 billion of fraudulent claims as it now has new filters in place to stop fraudulent filings. Nevertheless, the safety measures in place do not seem to be good enough. Detectives from the Tampa Police Department say they have referred nearly 100 cases of suspected tax fraud to the IRS months ago, and yet till now federal charges still have not been filed.
If you receive an email supposedly from the IRS, it is likely an attempt to steal your personal data like Social Security number, bank account details etc. Do not open such emails and even if you do, do not click on any attachment or link therein. Report the incident to the IRS immediately by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Law Offices of Darrin T. Mish, P.A.: Tax Attorney