Monday, September 26, 2016

Another scam warning from the IRS

The IRS has recently issued a Tax Tip that you need to be aware of.  For a while now, people impersonating IRS agents have been calling our home phones and even our cell phones demanding payments for past due tax bills.  The callers routinely make threats; and when confronted with taxpayer requests for more detail as to the nature of the tax notice these "agents" sometimes get downright belligerent. 

Another, more sophisticated, type of attempt to defraud taxpayers has been identified.  These would-be fraudsters are now issuing phony letters that appear to come from the IRS in an attempt to receive payments.  Here is the link to the most recent IRS Tax Tip on how to spot one of these fake IRS letters.  Always consult your tax advisor before making any payments to the IRS.

Kris Braxton, CPA

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fraud – the Bermuda Triangle

We’ve all heard about the Bermuda Triangle – and all the stories and myths that go along with it. So, as we head into Hurricane Season 2016 it may be timely to discuss another triangle that has just as many war stories – The Fraud Triangle. This one is possibly less well known but can be just as devastating to business owners, if not acknowledged. The good thing is, with the proper attention, the effects can be minimized or avoided altogether.

All businesses can be subject to fraud – some more likely than others. The most likely individuals who will perpetrate a fraud often have multiple parts of the Fraud Triangle in place. So, what is it? The three angles of the Fraud Triangle are: Pressure, Opportunity and Rationalization. The more of these elements that are present in a loosely controlled business environment, the more likely fraud will be attempted against a company. The attached article from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners further describes and illustrates the operation of the Triangle.

Please let us know if you have questions or would like to discuss how the Fraud Triangle may apply to you. There are often several simple internal controls that can be implemented to help mitigate this risk. Like a hurricane, proper planning can minimize its disastrous results.

Jay Pease, CPA

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

IRS warns taxpayers of various scams

The IRS recently issued a warning article describing various scams that criminals are using to attempt to trick taxpayers.  The goal, of course, is to get your money.  You can read the entire article here, but I have pasted the most important parts below.
The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to stay vigilant against an increase of IRS impersonation scams in the form of automated calls and new tactics from scammers demanding tax payments on iTunes and other gift cards.
The IRS has seen an increase in “robo-calls” where scammers leave urgent callback requests through the phone telling taxpayers to call back to settle their “tax bill.” These fake calls generally claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken. Once the victim calls back, the scammers may threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the driver’s license of the victim if they don’t agree to pay.
In the latest trend, IRS impersonators are demanding payments on iTunes and other gift cards. The IRS reminds taxpayers that any request to settle a tax bill by putting money on  any form of gift card is a clear indication of a scam.
The IRS will never:
  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money and you don’t owe taxes, here’s what you should do:
  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
  • If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

Let's all be careful out there!

Craig Rhinehart
Chief Information Officer