Scam robocalls and phishing emails disguised as banks continue to trick consumers to put their personal information at risk, and tax season is no exception.
Increase in potential threats
During this time of the year consumers need to be aware of the increase in potential threats as hackers pose as collectors from the IRS, tax preparers or government bureaus.
These tactics are particularly effective due to tax payers concerns of misfiling their taxes or accidentally running into trouble with groups like the IRS.
McAfee researchers recently uncovered an example of an illegitimate IRS site created to scam unsuspecting consumers. If you look closely, you will notice a non-IRS domain and not a secure connection, these are key things to look out for when seeking online resources.
Fake sites such as this pose particular risk to consumers when combined with phishing email campaigns. In fact, 41% of Americans admitted to falling victim to email phishing scams in 2019, serving as another reminder to be vigilant during the stressful tax season.
File before a scammer does it for you
The easiest defense you can take against IRS scams is to get your hands on your W-2 and file as soon as possible. The more prompt you are to file, the less likely your data will be raked in by a fraudster.
Beware of phishing attempts
Phishing is a common tactic crooks leverage during tax season, so stay vigilant around your inbox and double-check legitimacy of any unfamiliar or remotely suspicious emails. Be wary of strange file attachment names such as “virus-for-you.doc” and remember that the Office of Social Security or IRS do not call or email tax payers.
IRS scams: Watch out for spoofed websites
Scammers have extremely sophisticated tools that help disguise phony web addresses for DIY tax software, such as stolen company logos and site designs. To avoid falling for this, go directly to the source. Type the address of a website directly into the address bar of your browser instead of following a link from an email or internet search.
Consider an identity theft protection solution
If your data does become compromised, be sure to use an identity theft solution, allowing users to take a proactive approach to protect their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.