Smart Stops on the Web


   January 2002 > Smart Stops on the Web

THE INTERNET
SMART STOPS ON THE WEB
 
FRAUD SITES

Report Scams Here
www.fraud.org

Techno-savvy CPAs and auditors can avoid becoming Internet fraud victims by researching online scam statistics here. There also is an online complaint form and links to the Web sites of federal and state attorneys general courtesy of the National Fraud Information Center and Internet Fraud Watch.

Beware of Identity Thieves
www.consumer.gov/knowfraud

“When bad things happen to your good name,” go to this site and register your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission using the agency’s online form. Help your clients avoid credit card and Social Security number fraud by understanding how identity thieves obtain and use personal information.

Fight Fraud With the Pros
www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft.html

This section of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) site warns how easily criminals can obtain your clients’ personal data—for example, by “shoulder surfing” to see what PIN he or she punches in at an automated teller, or listening to him or her give an operator a credit card number. Find out what the DOJ is doing to thwart fraud and what actions you can take to protect yourself and your clients.

Know Your Rights
www.investment-fraud-recovery.com

Users can see news articles, video clips of televised discussions and links to online chats relating to investor rights. Jericho, New York-based Robert H. Weiss and Associates, P.C., also offers a Real Stories section on its site with case studies of investor loss and possible recovery.

“Scams, Shams and Spams”
www.fraudbureau.com

CPAs and financial planners can help clients learn the top 10 online investor scams and how to spot them at this site. Visitors can read articles on computer security, consumer concerns, e-mail scams and online legal issues, as well as file or research existing online vendor complaints.

Phony Claims Analyzed Here
www.insurancefraud.org

Like vultures circling their prey, opportunists sometimes surface in times of tragedy to see how they can turn a profit. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, insurance companies are receiving record numbers of fraudulent claims. Read about them in the Fraud of the Week section of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud site. Also research current fraud legislation, news and statistical analysis.

 
GENERAL INTEREST SITES

Board Certified, User Approved
www.cfp-board.org

Find out what prospective clients are looking for at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards site. It offers an online brochure in Adobe Acrobat Reader format—“10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner.” You can read up on the basics in the financial planning resource kit.

Accountants in Training
www.nextgenaccountant.com

This site, sponsored by Robert Half International Inc., is geared toward the accounting student and addresses hot topics, industry issues and trends such as converging disciplines, expanding roles and new competencies. Students can research alternate career paths in assurance services, e-commerce and information technology and take an online quiz to test their accounting prowess.

“And the Survey Says…”
www.siainvestor.com

Research the results of the Securities Industry Association’s annual investor survey here. The 2001 survey topics include industry problems, investor concerns and expectations, online trading and satisfaction with brokers. Research the basics of investing in certificates of deposit, and take online quizzes to test your financial planning and investing acumen.

Online Guide to 529 Plans
www.savingforcollege.com

For parents and professional planners alike, this site gives comprehensive information on IRC section 529 plans. A frequently asked questions section and “e-ditorials” are available, as are links to more detailed articles such as “Grade the College Savings Plans” and “Year-End Financial Planning Tips.”

Reduce IRS Penalties
www.taxpenalty.com

Taxpayers and preparers both can benefit from a visit here. Users supply the necessary information and this site
automatically accesses more than 250 ways to reduce tax penalties. For savings of less than $250, users receive a free custom penalty abatement letter and an IRS format report showing how to recompute lower penalties.

Links to Accounting Resources
accounting.rutgers.edu/raw/aaa/links/superlinks.htm

This Web site, part of Rutgers Accounting Web and created by the American Accounting Association, offers nothing but links to accounting information. Headings include accounting associations, business and accounting journals, and standard setters. Also, visitors can take a break with its Just for Fun section.

SPONSORED REPORT

Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.

QUIZ

News quiz: IRS warning on cyberattacks and a change in pension rules

Once again, the IRS sounds the alarm about a threat from cyberthieves. See how much you know about this and other recent news with this short quiz.

CHECKLIST

Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.