SMEED CPA, Inc | 201 Sand Creek Road, Suite F | Brentwood, CA 94513 | Phone: 925-634-2344


       

 

 

Michael Uadiale, CPA, ACA, CGMA

SMEED CPA, Inc.

 

Call our Testimonial Hotline & give us your feedback at:

 

800-609-9006 extension 3638

 


 

Other Articles

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This Month's Feature Articles

 

- What you need to know about the Equifax Data Breach
 

- Tax-Saving Strategies that Reduce your Tax Liability
 

- Tax Planning for Small Business Owners
 

- Now is the Time to Review Withholding Allowances
 

- Deducting Business-Related Car Expenses

 

Tax Tips

 

- Special Tax Relief: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma & Maria
 

- Reporting Gambling Income and Losses
 

- Tax Tips for Hobbies that Earn Income
 

- Small Business Tax Tips: Health Care Tax Credit
 

- Understanding CP2000 Notices

 


 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

   

What You Need to Know About the Equifax Data Breach


 

Background: What is Equifax?


Equifax is one of three major U.S. credit reporting bureaus. The other two are TransUnion and Experian. There is also a smaller, less well-known credit-reporting agency called Innovis (aka CBCInnovis) that operates slightly different in that its main purpose is to provide mortgage credit reporting services to the financial services industry.

Equifax, like TransUnion and Experian, track the financial histories of consumers and use this information to analyze whether a person is "credit-worthy" by issuing them a credit score. The credit score is based on the credit history contained in the credit report, a record of consumers' financial histories. Credit reports are comprised of information about your bill payment history, loans, current debt, and other financial information. Credit reports also contain information about where you work and live and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy.

Credit reports, which are also called credit records, credit files, and credit histories, help lenders decide whether or not to extend you credit or approve a loan, and determine what interest rate they will charge you. Prospective employers, insurers, and rental property owners may also look at your credit report. Typically, the information collected on consumers is sold by the credit bureau (e.g., Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) to credit card companies and other financial institutions.

What Happened?

The hackers had access to data from May 2017 to July 2017, including names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers and credit card numbers.

Who is Affected?

As many as 145.5 million people in the United States were affected, as well as 400,000 in the United Kingdom and 8,000 consumers in Canada. Credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers were accessed, according to Equifax.

What to do if it is likely that you were impacted by the Equifax data breach

The first thing you should do (if you haven't already) is to obtain and review your credit report(s) and determine whether there's been any unusual activity. Next, check whether your data has been hacked using the special website Equifax set up for data breach victims (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com). You will need to provide your last name and the last six numbers of your Social Security number. From there you can sign up for their free credit monitoring service. You won't be able to enroll immediately; however, but will be given a date when you can return to the site to enroll. Keep in mind that Equifax will not send you a reminder to enroll so you should mark the date on your calendar so that you can start monitoring your credit as soon as possible.
 

Note: Equifax removed the arbitration clause from the website that was set up for data breach victims. The arbitration clause stated that by signing up for the free I.D. theft protection and monitoring from its TrustedID service a consumer could not take legal action against the company--including participating in any class-action lawsuits that might arise from the breach.


Freeze your credit report accounts at each of the credit bureaus. Freezing your credit reports (make sure to freeze your account at each of the credit bureaus) prevents anyone (including new creditors) from accessing your account. Equifax has waived the fee until November 21, 2017) and has agreed to refund fees to those who have paid since September 7, which is the date that the data breach was announced.

If you do not want to freeze your credit account, you can place a fraud alert on the account. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
 

Note: Unfortunately, a freeze on your credit report does not necessarily mean that your bank accounts and other identity-related information is safe. Furthermore, if you do need access to your credit report, you will need to pay a fee to "unfreeze" it.


Get in the habit of periodically check your bank, credit card, retirement, and other financial accounts that could potentially be impacted now or down the road and make sure your Internet security (antivirus, firewall, malware detector, etc.) is working properly.

Finally, filing your taxes earlier, rather than later (i.e., at the last minute) helps prevent a hacker from filing a tax return using your stolen identifying information.

Precautions to take if it appears that you were not impacted by the Equifax data breach

Even if the Equifax data breach website states that you were not affected, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your credit reports, bank accounts, credit card accounts and other financial information. You can freeze your credit accounts as well (see above) and sign up for fraud protection.

Watch out for Equifax-related Scams

If you receive a phone call and the person on the other end says, "This is Equifax calling to verify your account information. Hang up immediately. It's a scam because Equifax will not call you out of the blue.

Every year, thousands of people lose money to telephone scams from a few dollars to their life savings. Scammers will say anything to cheat people out of money. Some seem very friendly-- calling you by your first name, making small talk, and asking about your family. They may claim to work for a company you trust, or they may send email or place ads to convince you to call them.

If you get a call from someone you don't know who is trying to sell you something you hadn't planned to buy, say "No thanks." And, if they pressure you about giving up personal information--like your credit card or Social Security number--don't give in. Simply hang up.

Tips for recognizing and preventing phone scams and imposter scams:

Don't give out personal information. Don't provide any personal or financial information unless you've initiated the call and it's to a phone number that you know is correct.
 

Don't trust caller ID either. Scammers can spoof their numbers, so it looks like they are calling from a particular company, even when they're not.
 

If you get a robocall, hang up. Don't press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
 

If you've already received a call that you think is fake, report it to the FTC. If you gave your personal information to an imposter, change any compromised passwords, account numbers or security questions immediately. If you're concerned about identity theft, visit IdentityTheft.gov to learn how you can protect yourself.

Stay safe and take steps to protect your data. If you have any questions or concerns about the Equifax data breach and your taxes help is just a phone call away.

 

Summary


If you have any questions about Equifax, don't hesitate to call.  Help is just a phone call away at 925-634-2344.

 


 

SMEED CPA Adds Financial Services To Help Clients With Investments & Insurance Needs

So often we here at SMEED CPA are asked about financial issues that impact our clients investments and their portfolios. 

We always offered our opinion and suggestions but in order to help our clients actually execute the changes we suggest, SMEED has created a Financial Services division.

 

SMEED Financial Services, Inc. will be able to work with both individual and business clients on their investment portfolios and manage assets on their behalf.

 

SMEED Financial will include Michael Uadiale, ACA, CPA, CGMA; and Pablo Blanco who has recently joined SMEED and comes with over 18 years of financial sales and advising experience with affluent investors.

Watch your inbox and mail boxes for more specific information on services SMEED Financial Services, Inc will make available to you.

 


 

Would You Give Me Your Feedback & Testimonial on Our Hotline?

 

Hello its Michael Uadiale, CPA of SMEED CPA Inc.  Weve just installed a toll-free number that I would like for you to call and tell me how you think we are doing as your CPA firm.

 

Just dial 800-609-9006 extension 3638 and follow the instructions.  If weve done a good job please let me know.  And if we can improve on anything, please mention that too.

 


 

Help Us Be Found on Yelp & Google!

 

Also as we expand our business, we find more and more people are using YELP and Google to look for us by searching Brentwood accountant or Brentwood CPA.

 

When they do this we want to be FOUND on GOOGLE.  One way you can help us is to give us an ONLINE REVIEW on our Google Maps/Places listing --->

or check us out at our YELP local listing below.

 

Just click here to go to our Google Listing for SMEED CPA and click on the YELP link to go there.  Scroll down to the Review area.

 

On either site it may say:  Been here? Rate and review

You will click on the Rate and review link and then log in, then give us a review!

 

You can choose between 1 and 5 STARS and write in what you think about the tax or accounting work we have done for you.

 

It's that simple.  Thank you in advance for your help and cooperation!

 


 

As always you can call our offices if you have any questions about these or any other accounting related issues, at
925-634-2344. 

 

Regards, Michael Uadiale, CPA, ACA, CGMA

Managing Partner, SMEED CPA, Inc.

 
 

 

SMEED CPA, Inc | 201 Sand Creek Road, Suite F | Brentwood, CA 94513
The Next Frontier CPA Firm | www.SmeedCPA.com | info@smeedcpa.com
Phone: 925-634-2344 | Fax: 925-634-2346