Transcript:

When tax time comes around, are you being reactive or proactive? Do you find yourself swimming in a sea of questions? Like, is it better to do my tax return cheaply? How do I know if I’m doing them the right way? Welcome to The Tax Answers Advisor with Marcelino Dodge. Today we’ll answer these questions and many more, sharpen your pencils and take some notes. Now here is your host, Marcelino Dodge.

Marcelino: A hearty big welcome today to The Tax Answers Advisor. This is Marcelino Dodge on show number 25 and building. And honestly I can see at this point, living the dream. Yes, I’ve actually always wanted to do this now that we have the privilege of doing it here on voice America, it is just so much fun to be able to talk to you all each week, and give a big shout out and listen to those listening throughout not just US, but throughout the world, various countries, China, Ireland, Colombia, we really appreciate the worldwide reach that we have on this show, even though we’re just mainly talking about income taxes in the United States.

But, there are some who do live in other countries or reside there that are US citizens that still need this vital information. So we really appreciate you taking the time. I’m always available to discuss what is on this show, you can reach me through my website, which is cashtracksfinancial.com or email, which is success@cashtracksfinancial.com. You can also give me a call at 844-394-4287 or visit my Facebook page, which is facebook.com/cashtracks.

Well, another week, another round of information coming out from the IRS regarding the American rescue plan, which we’re going to give just some brief updates here. Then we’re going to get into today’s main topic, which is about identity theft and your taxes. How can you protect yourself? What can you do if it does happen with your tax return? These are all vital, vital points that just have gotten, at least in my mind, which is why I’m covering this overlooked and forgotten, especially over the last year with all of the other events.

How do I handle identity theft with my taxes? We’re going to come back to that in just a few moments here, we’re going to just kind of highlight some updates from the American rescue plan again, because we’re going to take a show and just cover them all because literally, from a tax standpoint, does the American rescue plan actually help? Well, we’re going to present the information on a future show and let you decide.

But here’s a few highlights of what was covered in that of course, we got the round three of the stimulus payments being sent out. Some are getting them, of course through direct deposits, others are getting a maybe on a debit card or through a check. So you just need to be watching for that. And, frankly, just be a little bit patient, we’re going to expand on that next time. Also, if you had $10,200 of unemployment in 2020, that’s per taxpayer, that’s also non-taxable. As a result, we’re going to expand on that as well. Here’s an interesting little tidbit just for 2020. There are 9000 pages of tax law that came out just in 2020, which is why it’s so important to work with an individual like myself, an Enrolled Agent to really help you navigate through all of these changes. One of the big announcements, of course, last week was about the individual tax returns being due May 17th.

Along with the payments there, some states are kind of scrambling as to what they’re going to do, we don’t exactly know everything. So I would just suggest make sure you check with your state, whatever state you live in or the premium tax credit which applies to those with health insurance off exchanges, you need to take a look. There’s some interesting factors with that as well, that came through the child tax credits and adjustments for that only apply to 2021.

The dependent care credit that currently only applies to 2021 as well, employer fringe assistance, such as dependent daycare reimbursements that employers provide there were some adjustments there for 2021 only. Changes in sick pay, changes in the employee retention credit, and a few other changes that are just too numerous to go on and discuss on this show. Otherwise, I’d lose all my time in regards to identity theft, which is what we’re going to go ahead and focus in on at this time, because this is a huge, huge issue.

It’s kind of been, at least in my thought kind of pushed to the background with all the pandemic and all of the other information coming out. But it’s still a huge issue with taxes. And what most people don’t realize is that it really happens more and it’s been happening quite a bit over the years, the 20 plus years, I have been working in this business and e-filing tax returns and helping individuals. It does happen the information does get out there right first, some of the first times I encountered this was when I was getting going in the business.

I had clients who are coming to me with these. It’s a CP2000 letter which is basically a letter from the IRS saying that, “Oh, you didn’t report these wages that you work over in another state, like clear over in North Carolina,” for example. And my client, the taxpayer had never ever even been to North Carolina, they pretty much lived all their life and where I am in Colorado here. So that was the first time when I really started encountering that.

And we had to make some adjustments, we had to basically convince the IRS that no, they did not work in North Carolina, they had not been there, they’ve never lived there. And thus, essentially, that was someone who had gotten a hold of their social and used it to do some work. But they got no benefit of the work. But anyway, it caused a headache for the tax period, it took us about six months to get it all straightened out. And finally, it did get corrected.

And the IRS was like, “Okay, yeah, that’s not really their income,” and so on. So got fixed. And so it’s just and then things have continued to progress through the years. That was my first encounter with it. And then the second encounter started happening with my first section here about how do I know about identity related ID theft or tax related, ID theft in particular? Well, right now, the most common or at least one I encounter the most in the people I help is when we have electronically filed their tax return.

And we get the return rejected by the Internal Revenue Service, because either the tax payer or the spouse, or maybe one of the children have been claimed on another tax return, it says this, they will say this social security number has already been claimed on a tax return. Or perhaps it will say this social security number, this is a duplicate return one has already been filed. And when I get this back, it’s like, what, wait a minute, we didn’t file yet what happened here.

And that’s often what it is, someone has filed a tax return using your information, attempting to get some type of fraudulent refund is what usually is basically what it is. And so that’s why many times and we’re going to mention a few times through this program today. That it’s recommended to file your taxes as soon as you possibly can in a year. Of course, that’d be a big rush. But don’t wait too long either.

It’s a good protection against this ID theft to file your tax return. But we’re going to talk about some other ways you can protect yourself as well later on in the program. So if you do have the rejection of an electronically filed tax return because of a duplicate return or another individual on there, how do you fix that? Well, there is a way to fix that, at least initially with the IRS. And that, of course is to file the tax return on paper.

And of course, in this environment we’re in right now the IRS is so far behind, in fact, still processing tax returns for 2019. Of course, the extended due date does help with that. But yeah, what that helps to see is that if you are a victim like this, and you’re having to mail in your tax return, it’s gonna be a while. Normally, under normal circumstances, prior to the pandemic, it would take roughly about six to eight weeks to get a refund.

Maybe even longer if you’re dealing with an identity theft, but yet, you’d be able to get it now, it’s hard to estimate, you could be talking eight to 12 weeks, maybe longer. I haven’t had one of these come up yet this year to try to process and figure it out. But it’s important to know that it could cause a significant delay on your tax return if you do have this issue come up and you are a victim of a tax related identity theft. So what are some of the other signs that ones can possibly encounter with identity theft?

How do they know perhaps if they’ve been a victim of tax identity theft? First of all, is we all look at those IRS letters. They’re pretty standard black and white, official looking, you may get a letter. And this can be particularly scary if you get a letter from the IRS saying something about a tax return that you did not file which if you’re an individual who doesn’t normally file a tax return because you don’t have the income amount or whatever the case may be.

But you get a letter from the IRS saying “Oh, we’d need to get a tax return or we need to get more information on this tax return that you filed for 2018 or whatever because there’s some discrepancy, there’s something wrong here with this.” And you go back and you think, and you look and you go, “Wait a minute, I didn’t file a tax return for that year, why am I getting this letter from the IRS?” Well, that is usually a very, very strong indication that someone did file a tax return using your information.

And the IRS sends you this notice or whatever saying, “’Wait a minute, we need whatever we need the W-2 or we need it need some other verification of income or something, because something doesn’t add up.” So that is definitely a sign that you have been victimized by ID theft. Now, another way you can do it. Or another deep indication that you have been a victim of this, is you can get a tax transcript that you did not request.

Because you can go on IRS.gov, you can enter in your information. And the IRS will send a tax transcript to the last address that you have, that they have on file for you. So now if you get this tax transcript, which is basically a record of what was filed on your tax return, then you can get an idea, “Wait a minute, I didn’t request this, why do I have this I even know what this is.” Because the tax transcripts you get from the IRS, they’re not the easiest thing to read, oftentimes, financial institutions and others will want these to do various loans.

Because they’re looking for specific things, I guess but anyway, if you get one that you just did not get, hey that’s another indication that, wait a minute sometimes that’s going on somebody has your information, somebody requested this the IRS sent this out so that is another pretty strong sign that you’ve been a victim. Now, also the IRS of course, expanding their wanting people to go in and create online accounts with them to be able to access their tax accounts, to be able to look at them, which is actually a good thing for you to be able to go in and look at your tax account, maybe order up some things from the IRS, like a tax transcript, because you may need it for certain applications or whatever.

But if you did not sign up for an online account, and there’s one created in your name, and again, the IRS sends out a notice to you. And you’re like going Wait a minute. In other words, you get one of those puzzled looks on your faces, and you’re going. “What? I didn’t do this. I didn’t apply for this.” That’s another strong and immediate sign that yes, there is a problem. There’s some tax identity theft going on there. Or the other side of that is, is that if you have an online account you’ve created and there’s been some type of access it’s been accessed, or there’s been change on that account. And again, you get some type of notice from the IRS saying, “Well, there’s been this change on your account. Did you do this?”

Well, again, that’s an indication that someone is essentially had hacked you and had access to your information to be able to access your tax account or to get your tax information. So that’s another very, very excessively strong warning sign that you need to pay attention to if you do get that. Our next step consideration here is which is this really scary one? This the one that can really scare people, and that is you get that letter from the IRS that says, “Oh, you owe us additional money and by the way, you need to pay this money to us. And, oh by the way, we‘re going to charge a penalty’s interest for this extra tax that you owe us.”

And that is just, that could just scare you off your seat especially, in some cases if it’s several thousand dollars you get this notice for and you’re like, “What in the world is going on here?” And sometimes, that’s has to do with as I mentioned earlier in this program is that a W-2 or a 1099, even that was reported using your tax information and the IRS gets that information and they look at that and they go. “Oh wait a minute. This person did not report all of their income.”

And thus, you got to go back and show the IRS and prove to the IRS that you did not make or earn this income and provide documentation and show them, which can again show that you were a victim of some type of identity theft. Because there are Social Security numbers being used throughout this country in fraudulent manner and oftentimes that’s what happens is that you end up getting an additional tax notice for income that you supposedly earned but you really did not earn.

Because it wasn’t from you, it was from someone fraudulently using your Social Security number so that also is an indication that your victim. So that’s why when you get these notices like this, it’s excellent I did to give someone like myself a call, Enrolled Agent to come into to talk to, to have the help there to get this cleared up. Because oftentimes, it’s a very difficult to get this stuff cleared up on your own but yet, once again getting some professional assistance having someone your working with year-round can definitely help you if these things do occur.

We’re going to discuss a little bit more of these signs. And then also we’re going to take a look at how do I respond to these signs when they come up, as well as even coming up going to talk about, “How you can protect yourself from this tax identity theft?” So we look forward to talking to you again in a couple minutes here. This is The Tax Answers Advisor with Marcelino Dodge, here on Voice America Business Channel.

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Are you wanting to grow wealth faster, save time and build a nest egg? Hire a tax pro who makes you money and does more than just file your tax return? Marcelino Dodge of Cash Tracks Financial identifies your key numbers, works year-round, improve your numbers, keeps you compliant and helps you achieve goals faster. Call Marcelino Dodge today, 719-336-8739 to schedule your free tax strategy review. Call 336-8739 or visit cashtracksfinancial.com.

Many people want to build wealth or grow their business faster, but do not know what specific numbers to look at that actually helped build monthly cash flow. Hire a tax pro who makes you money and does more than just filing your tax return? Marcelino Dodge of Cash Tracks Financial identifies your key numbers, works year-round to improve your numbers, keeps you compliant and helps you achieve goals faster. Schedule your free tax strategy review by calling 719-336-8739 or visit cashtracksfinancial.com.

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This is The Tax Answers Advisor with host, Marcelino Dodge. To reach our program today, please call in the number is 1-866-472-5790. That’s 1-866-472-5790. You may also send an email to success@cashtracksfinancial.com. Now back to The Tax Answers Advisor.

Marcelino: Welcome back to The Tax Answers Advisor. This is Marcelino Dodge, helping you to understand the tricks that happened here with tax identity theft. How do you deal with it? How do you identify that you have been a victim of this? Also, as we continue in this looking at the signs and this is kind of relates back to some of the information I’ve already related to, is that a sign that you have is if the IRS has on record an employer where you did not work. This relates back to one of my other points when I’ve talked about you get an additional tax or offset is that’s often times because of a W-2 or an employer where you did not work and so that’s a strong indication there. Because if you look at your tax account or you request a copy of your W-2s that they have on record for you and if there’s an employer there you don’t recognize then yeah, you’re like yeah that I did not work there.

Especially, if it’s some employer in a state that you did not work in and have not made perhaps, even not visited that gives a good indication there to you that yes, you’ve been a victim there. Also, one last thought sign that you can have is getting a letter from the IRS letting you know that there’s some type of suspicious tax return we have here. It appears to be from you but we’re not really sure if it is. So can you please provide us with information?

Because this return is very suspect? We don’t, we just don’t think it is right. That also strongly indicates that you’ve been a victim of identity tax theft there. So now that we’ve looked at these signs, and how to know about it, it’s going to be important to figure out then. How are you going to respond when you are a victim of tax identity theft? Because, how you respond and the timeliness of your response is going to be absolutely vital to resolving the issue with the IRS as quickly as possible.

Now, one thing I do want to make sure and point out here is that in the case of tax related identity theft, the IRS is very willing to work with you on this, they have a whole program built around that we’re going to discuss that in just a little bit here. But what we want to do is just make sure you know that if you do have this issue, the IRS will work with you. Now, if that’s something you want to sit on, if you get one of these notices there, if you get one of these IRS notices, saying something about there’s a suspected tax return, or you owe some money that you don’t, that you know you don’t owe.

Or once again, something about from an employer or a tax transcript, if you get any of these signs, any of these actions that I’ve described happen, what you need to do is an immediate response to the IRS needs to be provided there. Now that can be provided by you directly. Or you can get the services of an enrolled agent like myself, you can sign a power of attorney for whatever year that they’re making that reference to, and you can have that individual help you to communicate with the IRS in order to get these issues resolved.

And so it comes down immediately, there’s a phone number, which is really good, because the IRS has different offices all over the country in different places. And this is a good tip actually, for any notice that you get is even if these are notices that you know that you should be getting or that you’re aware of is that there’s usually a specific phone number on that notice, well, and a specific address as well. And so you want to make sure that whatever numbers on there is that that is the number that you call. Or if you’re submitting correspondence to the IRS, the address, the office where that notice originates, that is where you want to send the correspondence because you don’t want it to get stuck in the IRS sea of mail.

That just kind of disappears some time. So you want to be very specific in these responses. Follow the instructions that’s on the letter as far as either the phone number or the address. That way you can get that immediate response and start getting to some immediate action on that. And though also in response to, as I mentioned earlier, if you have an electronic file that has been rejected, and if you’re working with a tax professional like myself, who really understands how this works.

It’s really vital that you work with them, to help them to do that provide the information that is required, because as I mentioned earlier, if you have an electronic filing that has been rejected probably because it would be, especially since we’re dealing with tax identity theft here if it’s related to that and it says like a duplicate return. You want to make sure that you do get that return filed on paper because the IRS could have a project only filed return that maybe has a different address than what your address is, even though it has maybe your name and social security number.

So you have to still file that tax return by mail. So you can get, of course, the refund that you deserve. Now with that, because it’s a duplicate return, you go in and you file, it’s a form 14039. You attach that with the tax return. And of course, as a tax professional, I’d help you to do that there’s specific instructions that go with that form. And you have to particularly follow the instructions, as well as with that there’s identity verification, that goes along with this.

And so as you submit that verification with it, what you want to do is make sure that you provide whatever’s needed there, sometimes they’ll just take copies on that. And so you don’t have to take in, take originals or mail originals to the IRS because they need to verify your identity, which sadly, because you’re trying to get your yourself straightened out there with the IRS, you need to verify your identity that way they know that it’s you. And so it’s vitally important that you do that.

And so what you want to make sure and do is respond in a timely manner. Now, when that does happen with the IRS has is the Identity Theft Victim Assistance Organization. And what this organization goes in and does for you is it helps you to resolve the issue. Now, like everything else with the IRS, it does not necessarily happen right away. But it does happen and it does eventually get done. And so with that, it’s important to just keep that in mind that this identity theft assistance is there, and it works with you. Now, once you file the tax return in question, or the one that you’re really doubting there, or that you’re uncertain of, they will work with you through that. Now, as I mentioned that just like anything dealing with the IRS, this Identity Theft Victim Assistance, can take anywhere from 120 to 190 days to get your case resolved.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not dealing with some of these it has taken a long time to get resolved. But they do eventually get it resolved, say they’re very meticulous that unfortunately, in the circumstances we’re in now it could take even longer, could take a whole year to get it straight. But you do need to take up the assistance. And if you’re mailing anything in that’s where I strongly will suggest that you keep an accurate record of anything you submit to the IRS keep copies of everything, you send it by some type of signature required for delivery.

So whether you send it through a private carrier, or you send it through the post office, make sure you got something with a tracking number. And you get the signature on there so that you know that that package that you sent gets there. And then also, as we move on here, there’s a IRS tax payer Protection Program notice, you’ll be received that that’s also there to verify your identity, so that you can work through this. And you work along with it now, as you call in because sometimes you can call in through this IRS tax payer Protection Program.

Because I’ve had a few clients get letters, saying that we need to verify some information for your tax return, before we can issue out your refund. And so through this taxpayer Protection Program, many times ones are able to call in, they can provide the information that the IRS is requesting and it verifies their identity. Now in some cases, though, you still may need to go visit a tax and IRS taxpayer Assistance Center in person taking all of your documents with you. This is on a case by case basis.

So it’s kind of hard to know exactly when that’ll be required. And sometimes it could be just depends. It couldn’t verify what you have with what they have in their computer system because one thing with the IRS and I’ve already seen that this year during tax season is sometimes you can have certain information in one IRS system that is all completely correct. But for whatever reason another IRS system does not have all of the complete incorrect information for I can’t explain exactly why that exists.

Or why that happens. But I know it does happen, which is why the visit to a taxpayer Assistance Center in person may be necessary. Now, with the COVID restrictions on things happening, it may be a little difficult to do that. But you want, of course, follow whatever protocols that you need to. But if you do need to visit a taxpayer Assistance Center, you do need to schedule an appointment to do that. And it has actually a way online through IRS.gov, to do that for you to find a center for you to schedule an appointment to be able to get all of that fixed. But the key is whenever you get any type of notice, or anything that indicates that you have been a victim of tax identity theft you want to make sure that you respond quickly, that you did take care of it there.

And if needed, of course, find someone like an Enrolled Agent to help you to do so one who has worked with these type of problems and issues before, it’s absolutely essential for you to do it. Other steps you can take, as well as your victim of this tax identity theft is to look through the Federal Trade Commission recommendations, they have several recommendations there of what you can do. Whatever state you live in, you need to check with your state tax agency to see what they’re doing.

For example, this is the Department of Labor in the state of Colorado, there’s been so much rampant, theft and fraud with the extra payments there’s been doing on the unemployment, that there is actually a place where if an employer or an individual receives a notice that they have filed for unemployment, and they have a case number, well, that employer can go in. And this may be developing in every state.

But I know in Colorado, the employer can go in to the Department website and report a certain claim as a fraudulent claim for unemployment and stop that claim in its tracks. And so if it’s the Department of Labor claim like that you can being going into it. And as well as various things with the states, you got to take a look at your specific state agencies and see what they have in place to be able to help you to deal with this on their level, be perhaps with some type of alert on.

As then another step of course, is be alert to various phishing scams that are wanting to steal data. I can give you an example of a scam here that’s been going on. I’ve actually seen this like for the two or three last tax seasons there. I’ll receive emails from individuals saying they want us to do their tax return. But what they attach to their email is a link saying here’s my tax documents, they want me to click on that link. Well, being that we don’t know that person one, we don’t click on the link in the first place.

And secondly, in our particular office, tax documents are to be received only by uploading to our portal, or of course you physically deliver more you mail them in. So those are precautions that we take, which then leads us into, how do I protect myself? And of course, you got to think about the two is if you’re using a tax professional, how’s your tax professional protecting you? While when it comes to both your computer and your mobile devices, it is essential, absolutely essential to be using some type of security software and software that updates automatically. Yes, you don’t want to be using any of these free programs out there anymore for antivirus or internet security. They’re very limited in what they can do. And they don’t update maybe as often as you need to. I know like the software company that I have using the protection on my computers. They have been updating constantly to keep my system safe and secure from all the hacking that is going on.

So that’s absolutely essential that you use some type of program on both your desktop, your laptop or your mobile device, whatever you’re using. In addition to that it’s good to use an encryption program especially if you have like Windows 10. You have BitLocker on there, so you’re certainly encouraged to set that up as well so that your information is kept very safe and secure on your computer. And that you are not leaving an expose, especially if a laptop gets stolen or something, having that information on there can be very troublesome for you.

But if you have an encryption built in there, it’s nice, it’s gonna be able to protect you. I like this suggestion here and I think this is very smart. Treat your personal information like cash. Do we just leave like 20 or $30 just lying around anywhere? Well, no, we don’t. So we want to treat our personal information the same way, we don’t want to just leave it lying around anywhere, be it in public, or, in this case, lying around on our computer or mobile device, we want to keep it private, keep it stashed away, keep it in our wallet, whatever the case may be, we want to make sure that we do that there.

And then, as another way, we want to make sure we backup our files you some type of a particular online backup system that will help us to keep everything secure. When we go to order things online, that’s perhaps where we get really, really dangerous, is make sure whatever websites we’re reordering has the HTTPS on it not just HTTP, but HTTPS. These websites are secure, and have good protection in place to be able to help you to be secure, as well as on your computer or mobile devices.

Make sure that whatever passwords you’re using are strong and when we talk about this a little bit more a bit about multi-factor authentication. So now that we’ve gone a little bit about protecting ourselves, we’re gonna come back cover a few more areas of how you can protect yourself from tax related identity theft, and return a couple minutes here again, this is The Tax Answers Advisor. This is Marcelino Dodge here on The Voice America Business Channel.

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Are you wanting to grow wealth faster, save time and build a nest egg? Hire a tax pro who makes you money and does more than just file your tax return? Marcelino Dodge of Cash Tracks Financial identifies your key numbers, works year-round, improve your numbers, keeps you compliant and helps you achieve goals faster. Call Marcelino Dodge today, 719-336-8739 to schedule your free tax strategy review. Call 336-8739 or visit cashtracksfinancial.com.

Many people want to build wealth or grow their business faster, but do not know what specific numbers to look at that actually helped build monthly cash flow. Hire a tax pro who makes you money and does more than just filing your tax return? Marcelino Dodge of Cash Tracks Financial identifies your key numbers, works year-round to improve your numbers, keeps you compliant and helps you achieve goals faster. Schedule your free tax strategy review by calling 719-336-8739 or visit cashtracksfinancial.com.

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When it comes to business, you’ll find the experts here. Voice America Business Network.

This is The Tax Answers Advisor with host, Marcelino Dodge. To reach our program today, please call in the number is 1-866-472-5790. That’s 1-866-472-5790. You may also send an email to success@cashtracksfinancial.com. Now back to The Tax Answers Advisor.

Marcelino: Welcome back. This is The Tax Answers Advisor taking you on a little tax ride today on tax related identity theft, we’ve covered a lot of information today, in regards to how you can identify it? How you respond to it? And lately, we’ve been covering about, how to protect yourself from it? Making a strong of an effort as you can to stay away from it and not become a victim. Well, we see another one way to protect yourself we touch of course, first on your computer or mobile devices.

Also keep in mind, about phishing emails and other scams that are just so present out there and with this new stimulus payment going out, those scams and emails are just out there trying to get your information, trying to steal your stimulus payment people just are so unkind at times. So, what we need to do is keep it in mind that if there’s ever an email where they’re asking for our personal information, we do not respond to those emails.

Especially, if it’s from a place that you did not request information from or even heard of before, you want to make sure that you just click the delete key, and get rid of that email, because it’s just looking for some information from you. And as I mentioned earlier, many times, ones will send an email that has some type of link on it, you want to avoid clicking on that link, especially if it’s from someone you do not know.

We here at my business, we have a no click policy in particular, for any unknown senders for both links and attachments because of the just the hazards that can present to a system. You can get malware and other types of software that you don’t want on your system, you can get that downloaded onto your system. And they can be tracking all kinds of stuff from your system, stealing your personal information, stealing your passwords.

So you want to make sure that any of those that come through, you just do not click on it’s like I mentioned earlier about the fact that I’ve received emails from individuals claiming that they wanted us to do their taxes. But when I respond to them saying, “Okay, here’s our process, here’s our procedures.” I had one just recently completely ignore what I said and still sent me an email saying, “Here’s my tax information, go and do my tax return.” I’m like, you just totally did not read my email.

I do not accept documents through email, but yet you still sent it. So obviously, I’m just going to delete, I responded to them. And it’s interesting, I never heard back from that person again. It’s always interesting to when you like hover over the link, because you can take your mouse and just kind of hover over it. But don’t click on it. If it has some weird email, weird web address on it. Or if you go and look at the email, like the reply to email, it’s not even the same as the email that you received it from.

So it’s like someone was trying to send out some type of mass email to see who would bite on it. And it’s interesting because I had one of those come in that went both to my business email. And to my personal email, basically the same thing. It’s like, yeah, this person is definitely phishing for information. We’re not giving anything to them. And we did not of course, keep in mind as well. The IRS does not communicate through email. So any emails that purportedly come from the Internal Revenue Service, just delete, because the IRS does not use email, they will send you a regular letter through postal mail.

They will call you, sometimes they will call you. It depends if you’ve already initiated certain action with them, they may call you or sometimes they’ll fax you and of course, has to be a very legitimate thing that the IRS does except facts is which is vitally important to keep in mind. So be watching out for these scams all the time. Another deal to keep in mind is passwords. Do not be using simple passwords or passwords like 12345678, or even just the word password. Don’t be using those. It’s encouraged that long phrases that you can remember, those would be very good to use, including some numbers in those and even some special characters like dollar signs, the pound sign, the @ sign, the and sign, or any whatever type of special character you’d like to use, including those in there in random spots, like in your phrase would be very good to help you to be even more secure.

Also, some people have a tendency, as far as security to always use the same password on every account. Well, I was looking at the other day, my password manager, and I have like, over 300 passwords, as like, wow. So that’s, that is a lot, you got a lot of different accounts, a lot of different places. But yet, you don’t want to be using the same password for every account. And even at least from my perspective, this is good.

Now this, I’ll just say this is my opinion on this, because I never do it, that you got the different websites that say, login with your Facebook login or login with your Google login or login with whatever. I never do that actually. Because I feel it’s more secure that I have a specific password for that website, whatever I’m logging into. And so that has a different password then my Facebook account or my Instagram account or whatever.

Because, at least to me that that makes you even more secure by not using those, those logins like that, because then you’re essentially you’re linking that account with your social media account. And then you’re essentially putting them to making them. Like if someone ever hacks that one account, they can hack into the other account. So I still would strongly recommend at least personally do not be doing that, so that each of those accounts is more secure.

And then you use a password manager that you have. There’s some very good ones out there. Personally, we use a dash lane in our business which has worked out very well to keep our various passwords and even it’s good because they generate passwords for you as well. So that random letters and numbers and stuff all in there so that you can have even more secure. So please, that’s a definite way to help you to do that and then of course, passwords for are then different that you got to use for your encryption on your computer when your initially logging in.

And you got to think about, oh, back on passwords here, you say, “Well, I got a password on my computer.” Well, yes, but you may just have your windows password, you may not actually have a password on your encryption software, because when you actually use encryption, like BitLocker on your computer, it’s going to ask for a password, before it even starts the operating system. That is the key there, is having that big long password there before your operating system starts.

Because once your operating system starts, and it comes up and asks for the windows password, pretty much anybody guess, or actually break into the computer and break that password at some point if they have any computer skills at all. So it’s very important to make sure that you have your encryption on before the operating system starts so that your system is even more secure and that one probably needs to be anywhere from 13 to 15 letters long or characters long, I should say, combination of letters, numbers, special characters all of that to make your system even more secure.

So keep that in mind in regards passwords, keep your tax information safe. We also want to remember about two factor authentication, where possible, is that yes, I do this a lot on my systems as well. In particular, this is where I store my data for my clients is that two factor authentication, which basically, when you log in, it asks for a code that you can use some type of authentication app which is usually on your phone.

So you’ll usually need your phone to do that when you set that up and so it’s usually less likely very much less likely that anyone who’s trying to hack your password, they may get through your password but then that layer of the two factor authentication, they won’t get that off of your, lot likely going to have your phone so that adds that good layer of protection. A good idea to, which is something I’ve been personally working at, is to try to get away from using your email, as your login.

I have a series of different logins that I use, and hopefully, as some of these websites allow us to start using something other than our email, I’m definitely going to be changing over just to add another layer of protection. I’ve talked about this multi-factor authentication, which is basically like the two factor authentication, it gives, again, a second layer of protection for you because you can never have too much protection, especially when you’re dealing with various information like I deal with the Privacy Information.

Having that on your computer, having it on your logins, and I didn’t realize this till I found it a while back is that even on some social media has that second layer where you can request that, that code for a new device that you’re putting in or even each time you log in from your desktop or your laptop, you can have it that second layer of protection in there so that even your social media account can be even more secure. So as your password doesn’t get hacked, yes, you get that security code on your phone.

Sometimes it can be coming from like your bank, which a lot of the banks I work with those into security code, if they don’t recognize the browser that goes that goes to my phone. Sometimes they’ll use a security app, like what is that one called Authy or authenticate or something like that. There’s a couple, there’s several different ones that you can use but of course, Google, has an authentication app as well that you can use so we want to make sure you use those apps, because it’s so much unlikely that people will have your phone or have your device they make it through your password but they probably won’t have your device so it makes it even safer and more secure for you to use such options and always encouraging ones to opt into that, whenever it is possible. And then another layer of protection that you can have in particular, this is specific to the IRS.

There is the IRS identity protection pins. I have several clients that actually had these they’ve had it for several years because they actually had their identities stolen or another tax return that was filed on their behalf and thus we filed the forms and each year they get this letter in the mail with this ID protection pin which adds a layer of protection for their tax return. Now, a great, great idea the IRS came out with to help combat this which can help with your dependence and helping a lot of areas is beginning in mid-January of this year, all taxpayers now can request this, you’re eligible to do it.

And it’s just so fabulous. Because this is one of those IRS things it’s great to opt in. This is a six-digit number that you get. It provides additional protection for your social security number, you must verify your identity with the IRS when you go in and get it. And there’s IP pin tool to request. In fact, I went and I requested mine last night. In my case, mine was fairly easy because I already had a account with the IRS due to a number of things that I go in for, like for my electronic filing as a business owner and so on.

I went and I got mine, it just popped right up there. So I encourage everybody if you really want that extra layer of protection, go in, get that Id protection pin from the IRS and then going forward that will always be needed. And yes, we are here to help you through this challenge with ID related theft that is tax related. We’re definitely here to help you walk through that help you to deal with the IRS or any other tax related issue, help you to be able to do some tax planning throughout the year.

Yes, I am Marcelino Dodge here so happy to help you as an Enrolled Agent throughout the United States. Always give me a call, it’s 844-394-4287 or you can of course email me at success@cashtracksfinancial.com. Here to help you to be successful because our goal is that everyone deserves financial success. And we’re here to help you to understand the rules, understand the laws, to help you to work through this so that you can pay as little tax as possible.

Because hey, the talk is taxes are going up so we got to do what we can within the law, and even start doing some planning now to be able to maximize our benefits under whatever the tax code may be in whatever Congress may do. So yes, always available here again I’m Marcelino Dodge, Enrolled Agent. Cash Tracks Financial so willing to help you. And as we discuss more and continue to inform you about the various tax laws and changes to help you get through this wild ocean of tax that is out there as they keep adding more and more pages to the tax code. Look forward to talking to you all again real soon next week at 9am Pacific. Really appreciate you listening today so much to The Tax Answers Advisor. Again, this is Marcelino Dodge on The Voice America Business Channel.

Thank you for listening to The Tax Answers Advisor with host, Marcelino Dodge. We’ll be back again next Thursday at 12 noon Eastern time, and 9am Pacific time, on The Voice America Business Channel. We’ll have more to share next week.