Insurance Blog
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 00:22

Beware of IRS Taxpayer Scams

The Latest Scam Alert: Scams Targeting Taxpayers

The IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency

On February 2nd, the Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

Following up on a Security Summit alert, the IRS issued this additional warning about the new scheme after discovering more tax practitioners’ computer files have been breached. In addition, the number of potential taxpayer victims jumped from a few hundred to several thousand in just days. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division continues its investigation into the scope and breadth of this scheme. These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit. Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

See IR-2018-27

Know How to Identify IRS Scams

According to the IRS, taxpayers have lost millions of dollars as well as their personal information due to tax scams. And no one is truly safe if they are unaware of what scammers can do. Scammers are quite clever at using postal mail, telephone (both landlines and cell numbers), or email to prey upon individuals, businesses, payroll, and tax professionals.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 17:31

Don’t Get Scammed Online for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is today, February 14. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers tips for protecting yourself online before, during and after the “day of love”:

  • Be wary of "too good to be true" deals. Free flower bouquet offers, all-expense paid trips, free gift cards – if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Slow down and think twice before clicking on such deals, especially around holidays.
  • Recognize an online dating scam artist. Online dating is more popular than ever. Look for signs that your suitor may be only interested in your money – if they press you to leave the dating website you met through and to communicate using personal e-mail or instant messaging, profess instant feelings of love, or ask for money for a variety of suspicious reasons.
  • Protect yourself and your personal information. Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely. Be careful of where and when you choose to meet someone you’ve met online. Pick public places, let others know where you are going beforehand, and be cautious of what personal information you provide about yourself early on in a date.

Be aware, be prepared. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:51

Common Exposures of Ride-sharing Apps

Ever since the first ride-sharing app debuted in 2011, they’ve experienced exponential growth in usage. In fact, in the cities where such apps have joined the market, taxi ridership has declined anywhere from 10 to 30 percent. However, while the popularity of ride-sharing apps is increasing, so is the host of risks associated with using them. Most of the companies are in the stages of infancy, and the situations they’re facing are in uncharted territory.

How Ride-sharing Apps Work

While they’re most commonly referred to as ride-sharing apps, any company that uses an online platform to connect passengers with drivers (using the driver’s own vehicle) is called a transportation network company (TNC). These companies each have their own unique differences, but they all operate under the same basic concept.
Through their smartphones, passengers are matched with available drivers via GPS. Most apps display the driver’s route and estimated time of arrival, in addition to the driver’s name, photo and vehicle information. The TNC gets a cut of the fare, typically between 20 to 25 percent, for each ride a driver completes.

The apps are convenient for passengers and for drivers looking to supplement their income. Still, they’re not without flaws. For example, it can be difficult to determine what regulations the TNC and its drivers need to follow, what insurance coverages apply to them and who is considered liable in the event of an accident.

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