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Tech Talk-Hacks, Taxes and ID Theft

Stay vigilant
        First Target's Christmas season data breach, snaring as many as 110 million shoppers.
        Then, Neiman Marcus confirmed it was the target of cybercrime involving customers' credit cards.
        Now, its another Christmas of sorts for hackers, tax time.
        The Federal Trade Commission says tax-related complaints made up 43 percent of identity theft complaints in 20-12.
        Security experts say even one piece of stolen information can be useful to a cybercrook. Creating a new identity that may not be flagged to you immediately.
        When information isn't tied to one person or address, identity theft is more difficult to detect.
        Potential tip-offs to tax-related scams include --
        -- Receiving a W-2 from an unknown employer.
        -- A mysterious balance due or even a refund owed.
        -- Claims of unreported income. Thieves use a stolen social security number to report income they earned, and send the tax bill elsewhere.
        -- Or an I-R-S letter stating more than one return has been filed in your name. It seems scammers, like to file early.
        They'll get the refund and you won't know about it until you file later, or file on April 15th.
        Heightened awareness is important during tax time or when a major breach takes place. And stay vigilant year-round.

        Consider a paid preparer if you're nervous about ID theft.  An enrolled agent is a preparer who can represent before the I-R-S if there's a problem.

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