Avoid Scams From Identity Thieves: What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself

Take extra care and watch out for scams during the busy holiday shopping period and in advance of the 2020 tax season.

More than 90% of all data thefts begin with an email phishing scam. But, you also need to watch out for scam letters, phone calls and social media posts.

Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself:

• The most common way thieves steal identities is with a phishing email. Phishing emails “bait” you into opening them. They pose as a trusted company like a bank, a favorite retailer or even a tax professional.

• Learn to recognize and avoid these phishing emails. The scams tell an urgent story – like there’s a problem with your account or your order. The message then instructs you to open an embedded link or download an attachment.

• Don’t take the bait! The email link may send you to what appears to be a familiar website to login, but it is not the legitimate website, and when you log in your username and password goes to the thieves. Or, the scam suggests you open an attachment, which secretly downloads malicious software.  Either method works for identity thieves.

These scam emails can show up in personal and in work inboxes, endangering the entire organization. And mobile phone users are especially prone to responding more than those working on a laptop or desktop computer. If at home, just delete the email. If at work, follow the organization’s guidance on handling the email.

Emails aren’t the only phishing tactic. Thieves may use letters or phone calls, especially when impersonating the IRS.

• For example, recent letters claiming to be from the IRS are demanding payment of an overdue tax bill. The letter requests the check be paid to IRS, but it provides an incorrect telephone number. Remember: Letters for taxes due always request payment be made to the “United States Treasury.” If unsure, you can register at the official IRS.gov web site and check your account balance if in doubt.

• And no, that’s not the IRS calling with angry demands of payment and threats of jail or a lawsuit. The IRS does not make threatening phone calls, nor does the IRS request payment via gift cards or debit cards. 

• If you receive an IRS-imposter email scam you should send it to phishing@irs.gov. To report fraudulent letters and telephone calls, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at TIGTA.gov.

A new avenue for scammers is social media. Increasingly, thieves are embedding their links or malware in social media commentaries, tweets or posts. Do not open links from social media unless you are certain of the source.

We urge you to be very careful! If you receive any email messages, letters or phone calls that indicate there is a problem with your account, don't respond. Call the company, the bank, or the IRS directly with a phone number that you know is legitimate.

The elderly are often targeted and may be very suseptible to scams.  Please advise your elderly parents, friends and neighbors to take heed of all this information. Tell them not to click on any suspicious emails as identified above, and to contact you for help before they respond to any letters or phone calls that ask them for personal information or to send money of any kind.


  • Address:DJL Accounting & Consulting Group, Inc.
    Cider Mill Professional Center, Building C-102
    1570 S Canfield Niles Road
    Youngstown, Ohio 44515 
  • Phone:330 779 0781



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