Personal information in the hands of scammers?
January 21, 2021 7:03 PM   Subscribe

One of my relatives entered their birth date and SSN on a scam site, and I'm wondering if I've suggested all the steps they can take.

(The site charges money to purportedly act as an [unnecessary] intermediary for filing a government form.)

They paid money and received a confirmation email with a phone number. I suggested that

1. they call the number to try to get a refund
2. they initiate a chargeback if a charge sticks
3. they freeze their credit by going directly to the three credit bureau websites
4. they make sure to check their credit reports at least once per year.

Again, this shady object has their birth date and SSN. Is there anything else they can or should do?

(I'm assuming not, but would a strongly worded letter from a lawyer make it any more likely that my relative's personal information won't get used for something shady?)

(The site is www salestaxapplication net)
posted by zeek321 to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Make sure they're checking at least once a year to confirm the reported income matches reality.

Report the scammers on
posted by phunniemee at 7:27 PM on January 21, 2021

File their tax return early if practical, especially if they have a refund due.
posted by metahawk at 9:04 PM on January 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

You just described the entire business filings industry (think: LegalZoom and the like).

Yeah, you can go to your state’s SoS website (or county’s website, depending on how your state handles it) and fill it out yourself, but literally billions of dollars is spent, per year, on your so called “unnecessary intermediary” companies. If you call up your lawyer and say “I want to open a flower shop, make it happen!”, even they are almost certainly using business filing companies such as this one.

That said, these guys are definitely charging too much. When I was going this type of thing, we charged $99 for incorporation/organization docs, and maaaaaybe another $39 for a Seller’s Permit. And that was 15 years ago when you had to walk the docs in to the clerks in-person or mail them in.

Anyway, all this to say: the very existence of this company doesn’t mean they are going to identity theft your dad.
posted by sideshow at 1:07 AM on January 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

One can do A LOT with the SSN. I've seen scammers file fake tax returns and steal every last cent of the refund and leave it up to the real person to deal with the mess.
posted by kschang at 5:09 PM on January 22, 2021

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