Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hackers Gone Wild

Hackers and identity thieves are going wild.

To be accurate your odds of being a victim are still quite small........but the odds are increasing every day.

So what to do?

Watch your bank statements carefully.

Watch your mail carefully, including what may appear to be junk mail (is mail for "Jane Smith" suddenly arriving at your house?).

Give special attention to unexpected mail arriving from tax agencies or collection agencies.

Be very wary of giving personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call to a known secure number.

You cannot be too careful.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

More Information


                     Protecting Senior Citizens Website

Hacking the IRS

Here We Go Again

The IRS has been using a special PIN system to protect victims of income tax identity theft.

According to media reports, the IRS is shutting down part of the PIN system because hackers were using the reset feature to reset and steal PIN numbers..

Oh dear.

Telephone procedures are in place for a PIN reset, but holding on the phone for the IRS may cause mental health problems (after you have heard the same music loop eight times)!

This is really confusing and changes frequently. Check with your tax professional.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Scavenger Bill Collectors

Legitimate bill collectors are irritating enough.

There is a less legitimate breed, firms that buy old records from credit card companies and other creditors and try to scare you into some kind of settlement.

That the records are often not accurate does not bother the scavengers. That there is no real liability does not bother them either.

One trick - if they cannot find the real creditor they may start trying to collect from people with similar names, just to see what they can scare up.

A few of this breed will get on the phone and try to scare you with threats of arrest and prosecution, which of course is not legal. Hang up the phone.

Some of these operations are run through law firms, which is supposed to make them extra scary.

Don't ignore letters, especially if the letter asks for a very large sum of money. A return letter via certified mail disputing the balance is very important.

And as a general rule of life, keep copies of everything!