Published on July 02, 2020

Protect Yourself from Cybercrime at Tax Time

Protect yourself from cybercrimeOur new Tax Day is less than a month away! Although we got some extra time this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are probably many people who have not yet filed.

Tax season is a busy time for online scams. With many users filing online, there are many ways cybercriminals attempt to intercept sensitive, personal information used to steal identities.

Here are some tips for scams to look out for and how to protect yourself as you file your taxes this year.

Scams to watch out for

  • IRS-Impersonation Phone Scams. You may get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS and insisting you owe money that should be paid through a gift card or wire service. The real IRS will not call you and demand immediate payment. Typically, they will mail you a bill if you owe money.
  • Phishing, email, and malware schemes. These come in the form of unsolicited emails, texts, social media posts, or fake websites that may prompt you to click a link or share personal/financial information. Thieves can use this information to pilfer funds or commit identity theft and unfamiliar links can contain viruses which can infect your computer if opened.
  • Fraudulent tax returns. The IRS only accepts one tax return per Social Security number. To avoid someone else filing a return as you, try to file early. To prevent criminals from getting the information needed to file fraudulent returns, protect personal information by only sharing your Social Security number when necessary, check your credit report regularly for suspicious information, and never throw papers with sensitive information in the trash.
  • Tax preparer fraud. Most tax preparers are honest but some may target unsuspecting taxpayers in order to commit refund fraud and/or identity theft. Remember, preparers must sign the tax return with their IRS preparer identification number.

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