Tax Tip Tuesday: Identity Theft and Phishing

May 24, 2016

 

With cases of tax related identity theft becoming more common, it can be hard to know if the phone call, e-mail, or letter you received about your Iowa taxes is actually from the Iowa Department of Revenue.

 

Here are some important facts to help you figure it out:

  • The department does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media.

  • The Iowa Department of Revenue will always identify itself.

  • You will never be asked to provide your full Social Security Number by e-mail.

 

Phishing Warning Signs:

  • Incorrect spelling and poor grammar may indicate the source of the contact isn’t a professional organization, such as the Iowa Department of Revenue.

  • Threats or requests for immediate action are often used in phishing to create a sense of urgency.

  • Links or attachments in unsolicited communications may be attached to an email you receive.  They are designed to hack into your computer, steal money, or steal your identity.

  • Requests for personal or financial information such as your full Social Security Number, bank account, or credit card information.

 

Here’s what you should do if you are unsure if the communication you received is from the Iowa Department of Revenue:

  • Do not provide any personal or confidential information.

  • Contact the department directly and they will confirm whether the communication you received was from the Iowa Department of Revenue: send an email to: idr@iowa.gov or call 515-281-3114.

 

To further protect your personal information, the department requires you to copy the three questions below into any e-mail requesting confidential tax information and answer them. They will respond to a request for confidential information only after your authorization is received. 

  • Do you authorize the Iowa Department of Revenue to e-mail the confidential information you may request?

  • To what e-mail address do you want us to send confidential information?

  • Do you acknowledge that e-mail transmissions are not always secure?

 

 

We will be taking a two week break and will be back with a new edition of Tax Tip Tuesday on Tuesday, June 14th.

 

Disclaimer: The items included in the Tax Tip Tuesday Video Blog are informational only and are not meant as tax advice. Consult with your tax advisor to determine how any item applies to your situation. IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advise contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

 

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