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Stay Safe From Scammers During Tax Season

Tax season is a popular time of year for scammers looking to target unsuspecting consumers through email, phone, or text message. Scammers pressure victims to give up their personal information by offering to file taxes for them. Consumers and business owners should protect themselves against online identity theft and other IRS scams that increase during this time of the year.

Such scams may appropriate the name of the IRS to mislead taxpayers into believing that the scam is legitimate. Scams involving the impersonation of the IRS usually come in the form of phone calls, e-mails, texts, and online messages. Some scammers take it a step further and set up fake IRS websites.

Be aware of these tips so you can avoid common IRS scams.

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Phishing Scams

Phishing attacks are a frequent problem during every tax season. Phishing scams during tax seasons often involve scammers attempting to obtain sensitive user credentials or payment by impersonating the IRS through an email, text message, or social media message. Once the scammers acquire this information, that information can be used to access your accounts, open accounts in your name, and steal money.

Always be aware that there are IRS scams that will attempt to deceive you into believing they can offer assistance with submitting your tax return or receiving your tax refund. There are also IRS scams where scammers will request tax payments or state that you need to verify your tax information before your tax return can be processed.

Many taxpayers have received text messages with a link to a phishing website that impersonated the IRS website. Those who clicked the link to the fraudulent website were led to enter their sensitive information, which was used to commit fraudulent activities.

The IRS will not send unprompted texts or emails, nor will anyone from the IRS ask you to verify sensitive information through text, email, or social media. Always keep the following in mind:

  • If you receive an email or text that claims to be from the IRS, do not respond or click any attachments or download any files. Be cautious of certain communications, such as notices of outstanding tax payments due or requests to verify personal information.
  • Do not share your passwords, account numbers, or any other personal information with someone who has sent texts, emails, or social media messages claiming to be the IRS.

Phone Scams

Scammers will not only communicate with you through email, but they will also call you, claiming you owe taxes. The scammers may lead you to believe that you have an outstanding tax bill that you can settle by sending gift cards or making a payment with a prepaid debit card or through wire transfer.

These scammers will make threats to involve the police if you don’t pay the outstanding balance. If you receive this type of phone call, you should immediately hang up. No one from the IRS will make that type of phone call. If you are concerned that you do owe money to the IRS, you should contact the IRS. The IRS won’t use scare tactics or make demands that your taxes must be paid immediately without giving you a chance to make ask for an installment agreement, request an extension, or appeal the amount you owe.

Identity Theft

Scammers want to steal your personal and financial information so they can conduct fraudulent activities, like filing a tax return in your name. Scammers can steal the data of taxpayers from tax professionals or directly from you. Scammers can also pretend to be debt collectors, requesting that you return the refund that was sent to you in error. The scammers will ask you to return the money to them.

If you are concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft during tax season, keep the following in mind:

  • If you use tax filing software, make sure you use unique credentials.
  • File taxes as early as possible to prevent scammers from filing a return in your name.
  • Update your tax filing software credentials annually.
  • Do not share sensitive information such as your Social Security number with anyone if you have doubts about their legitimacy.
  • Avoid saving your sensitive account information on your devices.
  • Review your credit report annually to confirm that any credit accounts in your name are accurate.

Colorado Computer Support takes the stress out of tax season with our security services that provide you with peace of mind, including IT and network support, as well as email and network security protocols like malware protection and anti-spam that you can count on. Contact us today for more information.

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