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Identity Theft News

Identity Theft News

Avoid Scams That Exploit Your Generosity

Avoid Scams That Exploit Your Generosity

The busy holiday season runs directly into end-of-year financial planning which is when many people choose to make financial donations to non-profit agencies. The Investigators at Kroll want your identity and finances to be safe while sharing with others. Here, we share guidelines issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help charitable people avoid charity themed scams.

  • 
Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
  • 
To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation for you.
  • Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
  • Verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status. Some include:http://give.org / http://www.charitynavigator.org / http://www.guidestar.org/
  • Do not be pressured into making contributions, as reputable charities do not use such tactics.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to an individual who solicits contributions. Doing so may make you vulnerable to identity theft. Use secure payment options.
  • 
Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity.

The busy holiday season runs directly into end-of-year financial planning which is when many people choose to make financial donations to non-profit agencies. The Investigators at Kroll want your identity and finances to be safe while sharing with others. Here, we share guidelines issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help charitable people avoid charity themed scams.

  • 
Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
  • 
To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation for you.
  • Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
  • Verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status. Some include:http://give.org / http://www.charitynavigator.org / http://www.guidestar.org/
  • Do not be pressured into making contributions, as reputable charities do not use such tactics.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to an individual who solicits contributions. Doing so may make you vulnerable to identity theft. Use secure payment options.
  • 
Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity.

Tax season ramps up W-2 phishing scams

February 10, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued an urgent alert regarding a dangerous W-2 phishing scam that is targeting employers across a wide variety of sectors, including everything from businesses to schools to tribal organizations. Not only is this type of fraud becoming widespread, there is a unique twist to this scheme, designed to further compound the potential injury. After fraudulently obtaining the W-2 information, scammers send an immediate follow-up requesting a wire transfer of funds. When a company falls victim to this scam, not only do their employees face the possibility of tax fraud from the stolen W-2 forms, but the company also loses funds from the fraudulent wire transfer. It is a double whammy, and according to the IRS, it has already affected hundreds of organizations.

The Underground Economy and Your Identity

January 18, 2017

The past several years have been a bonanza for the underground economy as it relates to the purchase and sale of stolen private information and, specifically, to the sheer number of individual consumer records impacted. Numerous large merchants, hospital systems, and insurance companies have been hacked, exposing email addresses and passwords, credit card numbers, and personal profiles. These breaches have resulted in a considerable surge in private personal information being made available for sale in the underground economy. Throughout this same timeframe, security companies, researchers, and hackers have commented on the vast amounts of data that have been stolen and are now available for purchase online. Indeed, we have heard all too often from the popular media that billions of personal records have been compromised.

How to Respond to Suspicious IRS-related Communication this Tax Season

January 18, 2017

It’s that time of year once again. The holidays have come and gone and we’re all settling into a new year. With all of our resolutions aside, one thing is still left to do - our taxes. This season is also the time where IRS-related scams are plentiful.  

It’s important to know that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by any type of electronic communication, including email, text messages, and social media channels. Here, we share some IRS direction for handling a suspicious IRS-related communication.

If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information:

  • Do not reply.
  • Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Do not click on any links.
  • Forward the email as-is, to phishing@irs.gov. After you forward the email, delete the original email message you received.

Note: Please forward the full original email to   phishing@irs.gov. Do not forward scanned images of printed emails as that strips the email of valuable information only available in the electronic copy.

The “Dirty Dozen” of Tax Scams Investigator Insights The “Dirty Dozen” of Tax Scams

January 18, 2017

Accountants and tax return preparers aren’t the only busy ones during tax return filing season. Scammers and abusers of the system are active as well. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) strives to educate taxpayers and combat scammers through various resources, one of which is their annual list of top scams - “The Dirty Dozen Tax Scams.” - shared here.

Phone Scams

Phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent years as scam artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things.

Phishing

Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never send taxpayers an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS. Be wary of strange emails and websites that may be nothing more than scams to steal personal information.

Return Preparer Fraud

Yahoo Announces that 1 Billion Accounts Compromised in Data Breach

As you may have heard, Yahoo just announced that over 1 Billion accounts were hacked in a recent data breach. This information includes account holder names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, dates of birth, telephone numbers and, in some cases, security questions and answers.

Here are a few proactive steps you can take to protect your account:

Protecting your identity during the holiday season

December 7, 2016

Keeping your sensitive information safe

It's once again the time of year when consumers are making plans to visit relatives, host festive get-togethers. and. of course. hit the stores (or computer) for some shopping. Unfortunately,the flurry of activity that goes hand-in-hand with the holidays presents a prime opportunity for a data thief to practice his trade. With that in mind, put the protection of sensitive personal information at the top of your holiday to-do list.

 

Kroll's Investigators offer the following tips that can help consumers keep their sensitive information safe:

 

Tip #1: Practice safe shopping in stores

»  Before you hit the stores. take stock of what you bring along in your purse/wallet. Remove unnecessary key identity components. Make a list of what remains so you'll know what is missing if your purse/wallet is lost or stolen.