Tax Refund Identity Theft

The Wall Street Journal had a great article this past weekend on identity theft tax refund fraud. I have been talking about this crime in my presentations and ways to stay protected so you don’t become a victim. Here is some additional advice from the article:


“Probe your preparer. If you use a tax preparer, ask about the firm’s data protection. Experts say that respected old-line, stand-alone tax and accounting firms are currently rich targets for thieves looking to harvest large amounts of data to use in preparing credible returns that will slip by fraud filters.

Change your passwords. This is one of the most important tips for self-preparers. Make passwords strong and don’t use the same one for different portals.

Also practice good security hygiene: resist giving out your Social Security number and other personal information; shred paper records before disposing of them; and use antivirus protection in your computer.”

Are we co-conspirators in cyber crime?

I don’ t mean co-conspirator in a legal sense or with criminal culpability. But it is true that our actions online can contribute to the success rate of the cyber criminals.

Over the years, law enforcement has fought crime epidemics involving hoodlums, mobsters and drug traffickers. In those cases, the battle was between law enforcement and the bad guys. Today the epidemic is cybercrime and all of us are part of the fight. With their actions in cyber space, uninformed and undisciplined computer users will make the epidemic worse. The educated and alert, however, will help minimize the problem and reduce the threat of cybercrime in general and its effect on all of us. Please see my presentation handouts for information on how to stay safe and help reduce the threat of cybercrime.

Hacked Press Releases

Another example of how hackers continue to find new ways to steal. In this case, anyone who has any market investments, including IRAs, 401Ks, or traditional pensions are victims. The hackers gained inside information and traded before the portfolio managers of our funds had that same information. The $ 100 million they made essentially came out of our pockets.