Many of you will be scurrying to meet the April 15th deadline in these final weeks of tax season. While you work to retrieve important documents, recall passwords and correspond via email, we want to remind you that this is prime time for fraudster shenanigans. Tax filing creates an opportunity for phishing your cash money refund and personal information. The IRS is aware of the creative attempts being made by scammers and have provided a few reminders and tips to help keep you protected.
Know that the IRS will not:
- Send you an unsolicited email suggesting that you have a refund or that you need to update your account.
- Call or text you with threats of jail or lawsuits.
- Request any sensitive information (i.e., your Social Security number) through email or text.
- Offer a ransom deal to get out of a penalty that you owe.
- Send threatening emails with subject lines that include Account Closure!, e-Service Account is Blocked, Few Hours to Close Your Account, Your Account is Closed, Your Account is Terminated, 24Hrs to Block Your Account.
Know that the IRS will:
- Want to be made aware of fraudulent attempts, so it has requested that you forward IRS-related scam emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and you report IRS-impersonation calls at www.tigta.gov.
- Avoid acting directly from emails, text or calls. Instead, go directly to the IRS website for contact information and guidance.
- Don’t open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is.
- Give personal information only over encrypted websites – look for “https” addresses.
- Keep old tax returns and related records under lock and key or encrypted if electronic.
- Look into parties that are reaching out to find out who you’re really dealing with.
- Review your Social Security Administration records annually.
- Don’t help identity thieves pose as you by oversharing personal information on social media (i.e., address, vehicle, new purchases like car or home and children).
- Shred documents before trashing.
- Use security software that updates automatically. Essential tools include firewall, virus/malware protection, file encryption for sensitive data.