McDonald Hopkins issues alert: Tax season is also identity theft season
CLEVELAND, April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In the McDonald Hopkins Alert, the firm's Data Privacy and Cybersecurity team points out that April is a critical time of year for businesses and individuals to assess their vulnerabilities to the onslaught of identity theft. Tax season finds the IRS inundated with filings and requests for tax refunds throughout the country. The government, unfortunately, lacks the manpower to ensure all of these filings are legitimate. Identity thieves, who now include sophisticated organized criminal groups among their ranks, are filing fraudulent tax returns by the thousands using stolen social security numbers acquired throughout the year. As a result, if you choose to file an extension on your return, you could be giving thieves the time they need to file your return first!
The means and methods by which these thieves acquire unsuspecting individuals' social security numbers and related personal information (i.e., date of birth, address, home telephone number, mother's maiden name, etc.) are varied and numerous. Techniques range from the hacking of databases containing such information, the careless handling of this information by employees that work with it, to simply paying people to rummage through the trash left by individuals and companies. The recent explosion of social media usage and the online availability of public records also provide identity thieves with a wealth of information to "connect the dots" of a person's identity narrative. This information, when compiled and incorporated by the wrong people, can cause immeasurable damage to victims and take years to rectify—if ever.
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About McDonald Hopkins
McDonald Hopkins is a business advisory and advocacy law firm with offices in Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Miami, and West Palm Beach. In January 2013, McDonald Hopkins announced a new subsidiary based in Washington, D.C., McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies LLC, led by former Congressman Steven LaTourette. McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies is not a law firm and does not provide legal services.
For more information about McDonald Hopkins, visit mcdonaldhopkins.com.
Deborah W. Kelm
McDonald Hopkins LLC
600 Superior Avenue, East, Suite 2100
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
SOURCE McDonald Hopkins
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