It’s the least favorite time of the year: tax season. Criminals take advantage of the general public’s uneasiness about paying taxes to try to steal as much money as they possibly can. According to a 2019 report by the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, phishing (or tricking people into offering personal information) cost victims over $57 million. While not all phishing scams attempts look the same, they are all intended to compromise your personal information to steal your money. Here’s what you should know about how the bad guys operate:
1. Scammers send fake emails from the IRS
One of the most common ways thieves obtain your sensitive information is through phishing scams designed to look like emails from the IRS or other tax-related organizations. These emails are sent out to millions of people, so it's important to look out for telltale signs of a potential scam.
To avoid potential online scams, before you even respond to an email claiming they are the IRS, check their credentials and spelling; most scams have bad grammar and misspelled words. Before you ever send any important information, it is always best to only fill out information directly through a government website or through the main service link provided by your personal tax advisor. If you think it’s suspicious, it probably is. If it seems suspicious, mark the email as spam or report it to the Internal Revenue Service at email@example.com.
2. Beware of offers that are too-good-to-be-true
Criminals will try to lure taxpayers into replying by promising unbelievable offers such as guaranteed refunds, free money to complete a survey or large tax loopholes, among others.
The fake websites include a link to start the refund process...but you should know, it’s a scam. One click is all it takes, and you’ve got a virus or spyware on your hard drive, or someone has walked off with your well-deserved refund.
These con artists set up shop for just long enough to collect victims’ personal information in order direct refunds to themselves. Stick to doing business with accountants you know, like, and trust.
To be continued…. Source: Yahoo Life