Business Performance Advantage is dedicated to
ensuring your company operates at maximum performance.
Sometimes, though, we include information about
issues that could affect you personally.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
(OCC) has issued an alert (http://www.occ.treas.gov/ftp/alert/2002-3.doc)
to banks, asking them to warn customers about
a new fraud scheme that uses fictitious IRS forms
and bank correspondence.
The scam involves a letter (http://www.occ.treas.gov/ftp/alert/2002-3a.pdf)
outlining procedures to be followed to protect
the recipient from unnecessary withholding taxes
on his/her bank accounts and other financial dealings.
The letter instructs the recipient to fill in
the enclosed IRS Form W-9095 (http://www.occ.treas.gov/ftp/alert/2002-3b.pdf)
and return it within seven days. According to
the letter, anyone who doesn't file the form is
subject to 31 percent withholding on interest
paid to them. A fax number is provided for the
The IRS form is phony and is just another attempt
at identity theft. Anyone who has filled in the
form should immediately contact the fraud department
of each of the three major credit bureaus and
report that their identity has been stolen. Telephone
numbers and addresses are provided in the alert,
as well as additional advice to follow in case
your account has been fraudulently accessed or
opened. The OCC's advice includes filing a report
with the local police department and contacting
the IRS's hotline (1-800-829-0433).
Additional information about identity theft is
available from the Web sites of the OCC (http://www.occ.treas.gov/idtheft.pdf)
and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/victim.htm).
the Power of Google
our last issue, we listed Google in our feature,
"Web Sites for Busy Business Owners."
This issue, we provide you with tips and tricks
to get the most out of your search engine experience.
the preferences of the search engine. If you
prefer to see 100 "hits" on a page at
a time, go into Google preferences to ensure you
don't have to change the number of pages viewed
at a time from the "normal" default
of 10 to 100 (www.Google.com/preferences?hl=en).You
also can request that when you click on a "result"
page, the browser opens up a new window. This
can be VERY handy when searching the entire Internet
and getting stuck on a Web site that won't let
you get back to the Google results page.
a toolbar. Want to always have Google at your
fingertips? Install the Google toolbar at toolbar.Google.com
and your functionality will be greatly enhanced.
After you use Google to search, you can use the
toolbar buttons to further search the page you
are viewing. It also brings to the front of the
browser a handy little tool normally buried on
the Internet Explorer toolbar. If you find a site
with exactly the information you need, but want
to know if there are others out there just like
this site, click on "Page Info;" you
now have the option to view similar pages.
the Advanced Search features. This feature
is very handy when you think a topic should be
on a specific site, but the regular "blanket"
search of all the documents on the Web just isn't
coming up with the right information (www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en).
Place the key words you are searching for in boxes
that will instruct the search engine to only find
those words - in that particular order - on a
site. You can further restrict the search by stating
the domain name of the site for Google to search.
For example, this comes in handy when trying to
find specific troubleshooting information on the
Microsoft site. Place your keywords in the "exact
phrase" box, and then place "Microsoft.com"
in the "only return results from the site
or domain" box. This makes Google only look
inside Microsoft.com. Of course, you can get a
bit of "advanced searching" even without
visiting this page if you merely place quotation
marks around the phrase you are searching, forcing
Google to look for that specific phrase.
Google's restricted searching tools. Want
to search only U.S. Government sites? Try www.google.com/unclesam.Only
Linux topics? Try www.google.com/linux. Need information
for Macintosh? Visit www.google.com/mac. College
information? Try www.google.com/options/universities.html.
at first you don't succeed, try another variation.
Google does not allow for wildcards (or *) in
its searching, so if you are unsure whether you
will get the information you need with the term
Airline or Airlines, try it with both versions.
at first you don't succeed, try it again with
fewer words. If you don't receive the "hits"
you need, use fewer words to widen the search.
You always can search inside the results once
you get in the right area.
going to the root page of a Web site. If at
first your "hit" is a page that is a
sub page under a site and it doesn't quite meet
your needs, try going back to the site's root
page and start clicking. Many times, you will
find yourself with a page that is many layers
deep under its main site. The information is useful,
but not quite what you needed. Before you go back
to the Search engine and try again, go up to the
browser window and "strip" off the additional
address to that sub page and go back to the main
root page of the site.
with permission from AICPA's InfoTech Update