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Sunday October 2, 2022

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Federal Trade Commission Webinar on Scams and Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service plan to sponsor a free webinar on Wednesday, July 20 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (11:00 a.m. PT, 12 p.m. MT, 1:00 p.m. CT). The free webinar will help taxpayers understand potential tax scams and identity theft risks.

The topics of the seminar are quite timely. It will explain current methods popular with identity thieves who attempt to trick victims. The thieves use these methods to obtain your personal and financial information.

The seminar will also help individuals understand how to avoid unscrupulous tax return preparers and explain the resources that help protect you from identity theft. If you are a victim of identity theft, there will be an explanation of the methods that you should use to report the identity theft.

You may register for the free seminar by going to www.IRS.gov and selecting the Internal Revenue Service Webinar Registration page. The IRS also will respond to questions if you send an email to cl.sl.web.conference.team@irs.gov.

The IRS Security Summit published information that will be discussed at the seminar. This Security Summit information is helpful for individuals who want to protect themselves and their family.

1. Identity Protection PINs — All taxpayers can use the IP PIN to verify their identity online. This PIN is also helpful if you have a phone call with an IRS employee. The six-digit PIN is used to identify you and prevent a fraudster from filing a tax return in your name.

2. Spear Phishing Scams — Email phishing scams continue to be one of the most effective strategies of identity thieves. They will send an email with a link that downloads malware to your computer. Identity thieves have become very skilled in starting an email conversation with the victim and building a level of trust through multiple emails. After the level of trust has been built, the identity thief will send you the email with the link that downloads the malware. Because you have started to trust the identity thief, you are much more likely to click on that link.

3. Signs of Identity Theft — There are several signs that indicate identity theft. If you receive multiple IRS letters that are not expected or a letter promising a substantial tax refund that you think is not correct, you should be on guard. You also may discover that the malware on your computer is causing your cursor to move on its own or there are unusual computer actions.

4. Protect Yourself at Home or When Traveling — Work-from-home options have created additional security risks. If you are regularly working from home on your computer, you may have saved important information on your local machine. If an identity thief downloads malware and gains access to your computer, you could suffer a substantial data loss. In addition, when you are traveling you should be very cautious when using Wi-Fi. Many public Wi-Fi sites do not have encryption and are monitored by identity thieves.

Published July 15, 2022
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