As we approach tax time, it’s important to beware of scams. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.
Identify thieves often swipe your bank or credit card account numbers, birth date information or Social Security number to steal from your accounts, open a new or phony account, or make illegal purchases. Some 15,400,000 consumers were victims of identity theft or fraud last year, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy and Research.
All sorts of nefarious schemers can come after you via the phone or email. Your tax return offers a trove of personal information, and this time of the year scammers also prey on your apprehension about paying taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently published its latest list of scam warnings, further admitting it’s true: tax scams proliferate during the income tax filing season. Some of the IRS tips include:
- Beware of unexpected communication at the start of tax season that claims to come from the IRS.
- Don’t fall for phone or phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The fake messages typically probe you for personal information. Thieves often pose as the IRS offering a bogus refund or warn you to pay past-due taxes. Sometimes with phone scams, they threaten you with immediate arrest if you hang up.
- The IRS sends letters by postal mail and initiates no contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This means any e-communication, such as text messages and messages over social media.
- The IRS does not ask you for personal identification numbers, pins, passwords or similar confidential information for your credit card, bank or other accounts.
- If you get an unexpected email, open no attachments and do not click on links in the message. Forward the email to [email protected].
Related: How to Avoid Scams, Particularly Those Targeting Older Adults
See more about reporting phishing scams involving the IRS at the agency’s website.
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