Sacramento – California State Board of Equalization (BOE) Chairman and Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Member Jerome E. Horton announces taxpayers should take a few simple steps to keep from being preyed upon by data thieves and cyber criminals.
“I stand with the Internal Revenue Service and other state tax agencies throughout our great nation in encouraging California taxpayers to follow safeguards for protecting their information,’ said BOE Chairman Jerome E. Horton. “Criminals have access to a good deal of personal data which they can use to file fraudulent returns. I urge you to become aware of security measures you can take online and at home to protect your data from cyber criminals.”
Tax authorities made the appeal to the public today in Washington, D.C. at a news conference that included more than a dozen state tax agency executives, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and representatives of the tax preparation and software developer industries.
“Identity thieves are evolving, and so must we,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS, the states, and the tax industry are putting in place even tougher safeguards. But, we need the public’s help. We need people to join with us and take an active role in protecting their personal and financial data from thieves.”
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourselves:
Use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use automatic updates. Encrypt your tax returns and other sensitive data. Use strong passwords.
Beware of phishing emails. Are you expecting a message from your bank or tax software company to update your account? A link may take you to a fake website that is designed to steal your log-on information. The attachment you open may include a virus or malware that allows a thief to get into your sensitive files.
Beware of phone scams. If you get a call from an aggressive or belligerent person who says you will be sued or jailed if you don’t make an immediate payment, this is a scam. The BOE will have sent letters before you receive a phone call, which would only be to discuss payment options. Remember, if you want to make sure a call to collect a BOE or FTB debt is legitimate, you can call either of our customer service centers to make sure. The BOE’s number is 1-800-400-7335 and the FTB’s is 1-800-852-5711.
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Re-elected in 2014, Chairman Jerome E. Horton is the Third District Member of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), representing more than 9.5 million residents in Los Angeles County. He is also the BOE’s Property Tax Committee Chairman. He is the first to serve as a Board Member with more than 21 years of experience at the BOE. Horton previously served as a Member of the California State Assembly from 2000-2006.
The five-member BOE is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $60 billion annually in taxes and fees, supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit the California Tax Service Center.