Financial Expert Steve Sexton Helps Consumers Stay Safe from Scammers this Tax Season
SAN DIEGO, February 4, 2020 (Newswire.com) - Each year, thousands of people lose millions of dollars as a result of IRS scams. With a surge of new IRS scams circulating before tax season, Steve Sexton, founder of the Southern California financial services company Sexton Advisory Group, is revealing essential tips to help keep Americans free from tax season fraud and identity theft:
- Confirm credentials. If you do hire a tax preparer, make sure they have a Tax Preparers Identification Number and check their references. Start this process early this year, as filing early lowers the chance of someone else filing a fake return with your social security before you do. Also know that a reputable CPA will never ask you to sign a tax return until it is fully prepared.
- The IRS will only contact you via snail mail. If you receive an email, text message, or social media message from someone claiming to be the IRS, delete it or forward it to phishing@IRS.gov. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit if you suspect someone has used your information to file a tax return or steal your identity at 800-908-4490.
- Shred documents and clear out your email. Any documents containing your legal name, date of birth, and social security is a goldmine for ID thieves, so invest in a micro cut shredder and clear out old emails containing such information. Additionally, never directly email your tax documents to your tax preparer or CPA. Reputable tax preparers should have secure portals to upload sensitive financial information.
- Destroy hard drives. Always replace and reset your computer’s memory to factory settings or replace or removed and destroy the hard drive before donating or discarding it. This goes for your printer as well. Most people don’t realize that every document they have ever printed or copied is stored on their printers’ hard drives.
- Consider credit monitoring. If your identity gets stolen or a scammer files a false tax return, it could take six months or more to get your money back. A credit monitoring service can help alert you to changes or updates to your credit.
To learn more, please visit https://www.sextonadvisorygroup.com.
Source: Sexton Advisory Group