The Watchblog

Unleashed

  • Beware of Unethical Tax Preparers

    Yes, it’s income tax season and if you’re unfamiliar with the territory, you probably plan to hire a preparer. An estimated 60% of all filers pay someone to assist with their returns. Your choice is important as unethical preparers can be found from one end of the country to the other. Sadly, only a small […] Read more

  • IRS Estimate of Compromised Accounts Doubles Again

    The numbers keep rising sharply in the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) 2015 ‘Get Transcript’ data breach. Now it appears that three quarters of a million taxpayers were touched by the breach last May. First discovered last June 2015, the breach was initially believed to involve just 114,000 individuals. Hackers attempted to compromise the online service […] Read more

  • Will an IRS PIN Protect You From Tax Refund Fraud?

    “Please allow 180 days to let us properly address your concern,” the recorded phone message states in a calming voice. Welcome to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU). This is where reports of identity theft end up and where – if you’re selected – you can receive an IRS PIN to […] Read more

  • How Identity Thieves Target Dating Services

    When it’s time to begin a dating relationship, you never put your worst foot forward. You might even ‘enhance’ your image with a little hair dye or heels that add a bit of stature. The same is true for online dating. That photo you posted is a few years old, right? According to identity theft […] Read more

  • Safer Internet Day 2016

    “Treat your password like your toothbrush; don’t share it with anybody.” That’s just one of the messages behind today’s Safer Internet Day (SID), an annual reminder of the internet’s darker side and ways to make the internet safer for all. Everyone (except a hacker) wants the internet to be safe, positive and effective, yet the […] Read more

  • Visualizing Data Breaches

    Information is beautiful; it’s the consequences of unintended sharing that can turn downright ugly. If you’ve been hit recently by a data breach, check out InformationIsBeautiful.net to get a picture of how big and serious that breach could be or to learn more about the breach you’re facing. Started in 2013 by David McCandless, a […] Read more

  • Sweetheart Time: A Time For Caution

    This is definitely the time of year when many individuals long to be half a couple. But before you sign onto an online dating site, consider what information you’re sharing, how it will be used and where it could end up. Hacks to dating sites happen. In 2013, Cupid Media (not to be confused with […] Read more

  • Identity Theft Complaints Soar in 2015

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on January 28 announced that identity theft complaints to the agency surged 50% to nearly half a million in 2015 compared to 2014. Chairwoman Edith Ramirez attributed the jump in part to increased numbers of income tax identity fraud and wage fraud complaints. She revealed the new statistics as part […] Read more

  • Hang Up. The IRS is Not Suing You!

    Over $14 million dollars have been paid to IRS impersonators according to a recent TIGTA audit. Don’t get caught in this scam. Many people are receiving phone calls claiming the IRS is taking legal action against you. While the 202 Washington D.C. area code might seem legit, not one shred of information that followed was […] Read more

  • Tax Preparer Confirms Data Breach

    Avoiding tax refund identity theft this year is getting harder by the minute. The latest challenge is a data breach at TaxAct, a major online tax preparation service, which will cause huge headaches for some of its users. The breach might finally convince folks they must stop using the same login credentials on multiple websites, […] Read more