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7 Warning Signs of an IRS Scam

  1. They contact you. The IRS will not reach out to you unless you contact them first. You can safely ignore any unsolicited message claiming to be from the IRS.
  2. You receive a pre-recorded voicemail. Using robocalls is a classic way for scammers to initiate contact.
  3. You receive threats of any kind. IRS agents will never threaten you with fines or criminal prosecution if you don’t comply with their instructions. 
  4. You’re asked to pay using gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. Tax payments should be made using other more secure methods, including bank transfers and checks. 
  5. You’re asked to provide sensitive personal or financial information. The IRS should already know your name, SSN, phone number, etc. If someone can’t provide basic information about you, it’s a scam.
  6. They give you a form that’s not on the IRS website. Double-check any form against the original on the IRS website. If there are any modifications, or if you can’t find the form online, it’s a scam. 
  7. They don’t know what an HSPD-12 card is, or they can’t provide their government-issued badge number. If an IRS agent visits you in person, they’re required to show an official Federal identity card. Make sure you take down any badge or employee numbers for your own records.

Were You Targeted by an IRS Scam? Here’s What To Do

If a tax scammer got to you, time is of the essence. 

First, call your financial institutions to notify them of the fraud, and place a credit freeze with all three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This prevents scammers from opening accounts or taking out loans in your name.

Next, change your passwords and secure your online accounts with two-factor authentication (2FA). Many scammers use your personal information to gain access to other sensitive accounts, such as your email, bank, or social media.   

After that, you’ll want to report your experience to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and IdentityTheft.gov. Contacting local law enforcement agencies to report details of the incident is also highly recommended. 

Finally, you’ll want to monitor your sensitive information for signs of fraud. 

Aura’s award-winning identity theft protection solution monitors your financial accounts (i.e., credit, bank, investment) and sensitive information (SSN, name, address, etc.) and alerts you in near real-time to any suspicious activity. 

Aura also protects your data and devices with powerful digital security tools like antivirus software, a virtual private network (VPN), and secure password manager. And if the worst should happen, you’re covered for up to $1 million in eligible losses due to identity theft.

Zoom out: For a complete list of recovery protocols, use this fraud recovery checklist and follow all the steps for maximum protection.

How To Stay Safe When Filing Your Taxes This Year 

Tax season is stressful enough without the looming possibility of being targeted by a cybercriminal. That said, a few safety tips can provide much-needed peace of mind as you prepare your taxes this year. 

Here are some best anti-scam practices when it comes to IRS impersonators:

  • File your taxes early. The earlier you file, the harder it is for scammers to file fraudulently using your information. 
  • Verify the legitimacy of anyone who contacts you about your taxes. Contact the IRS independently to confirm the agent’s information before you proceed. 
  • Keep your SSN secure by not sharing it with anyone via phone, email, or text. Here’s what to do if you think someone has (or is using) your SSN.
  • Never respond to unsolicited calls, texts, emails, or social media messages. If anyone claims to be from the IRS, hang up and call the agency back through its official channels listed on IRS.gov.
  • Learn the warning signs of online scammers. Fraudsters use the same tactics and social engineering attacks to target their victims. 
  • Regularly monitor your credit score, bank account, and personal finances. Aura keeps tabs on your most sensitive accounts for you so that you don’t have to worry about missing the warning signs of fraud. 
  • Thoroughly vet any tax professional before working with them. Make sure the person or company has the proper credentials — and that they sign your tax return when submitting it. 
  • Protect yourself from online threats by using antivirus software, VPN, and Safe Browsing tools. Aura’s full suite of easy-to-use digital security tools can keep your private information safe from hackers and scammers. 
  • Scan the Dark Web for your personal information. If your email, SSN, phone number or other information has been leaked in a recent data breach, you could be at higher risk of identity theft and other scams. 

Consider signing up for an identity theft protection solution. Aura can help keep you and your family safe this tax season. Learn more about how Aura works and how you can begin using all of Aura’s top-rated features today to see it’s right for you.

Please call or email us for more information and questions.

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Jocelyn Sihathep (Jo1)

Office Manager

We have a Sun Devil in the house! We are honored to add to our team, Jo. She is a graduate of Arizona State University (Fear the Fork) and is looking to broaden her knowledge and understanding of business and accounting.

She is the engine of our fine-tuned machine. Her “can do” attitude, commitment to customer service and outstanding organization skills allows us to focus on what matters most, our clients. She is amazing with technology and strives for excellence. She embraces the entrepreneurial spirit and is a great asset to our team.

Jocelyn Weatherley (Jo2)

Accountant

Jo was previously an accountant for a $60M company and their 13 subsidiaries. She is in charge of our accounting and bookkeeping department and serves our clients on their time schedule. Whether it is weekly, monthly or quarterly she helps provide reliable, useful and accurate information to our clients on their terms.

Jo performs full accrual accounting and is responsible for reconciling all accounts, journal entries, month end closing procedures and preparation of internal financial statements and analytics. She also assists in the preparation of sales and payroll tax returns. She holds a wide range of knowledge, from QuickBooks to travel (she spent most of her life in the UK), she’s your girl. She is excited to join the CCA team and ready to conquer tax season head on!

Dixie Cary

CPA and Tax Manager

Dixie is a Minnesota CPA and experienced accountant. She has over 25 years of accounting in both audit and tax, but her passion is tax. After years in the cold, she decided to leave the mid west and find a new home in Sunny Arizona. We are so happy that Dixie has joined our team.

Dixie leads and manages our entire tax department. She assists and leads a team through our busiest times while delivering quality, complete and accurate tax services for our clients. She is proficient in preparation, planning, and education of federal and state income taxes for individuals, businesses, estates, trusts, and exempt organizations.

Theresa Elaine Valade

CPA and Managing Partner
Theresa has over 27 years of experience in tax, audit and consulting. She was with the International CPA Firm of Arthur Anderson in Phoenix and San Francisco. She most recently was a partner with Moffitt & Company, P.C. Her areas of specialization are business consulting and advisory, audits, income tax planning and preparation, and IRS audit representation. Her industries of specialization are nonprofits, real estate, hospitality, franchises, mortgage banking and brokering, title insurance, escrow, health, and beauty.
One of Theresa’s biggest honors is being named the 2020 CPA firm of the year for her commitment and service to her clients during the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Putting passion and personalization at the forefront Theresa has led her firm to excellence by not only providing measurable results for clients but making them feel well taken care of during times of great uncertainty.
Theresa is also a member of the prestigious, Arizona Society of CPAs, ASCPA, 100% Membership Club. It is an honor to be part of this club that exhibit’s a high level of commitment to the Arizona Society of CPAs. We are privileged to be able to convey to our clients, staff, and colleagues of Theresa’s significant commitment to the CPA profession.