The world is full of people who are ready and willing to take advantage of someone when they’re vulnerable, and the tax world is no different. Tax “scams” are prevalent around tax season, with new forms of fraudulence being discovered every day, but the most prevalent by far is the email “phishing” scam. If you don’t want to fall in the trap, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid being scammed during tax season.
Phishing scams are easy to pull off and can be done from home. A typical phishing email during tax season will bear similar (or sometimes identical) IRS letterhead or logos and will instruct you to follow a link that will lead you to, you guessed it, a site that requests your personal information. Often times people are too quick to trust a logo or letterhead and forget to check the validity of an email/site before divulging their personal info.
How to Avoid Being “Phished”
Knowledge is Power – The IRS will never request money from you via email. They won’t even email you about refunds or dues electronically, much less ask you to complete a form or divulge information in order to obtain a refund. The IRS will also never ask for any passwords, PIN numbers or any other sensitive information.
Always Double Check – You should always make sure to double check any email that is requested information from you, even if it looks like an official entity or company. It’s super easy to duplicate an entire website, so check around, click a few links, and if you feel uneasy about it, avoid it altogether.
Do Not Open Attachments – Sometimes it’s easier to get someone to click on an attachment rather than have them click on a site link. If you feel that you have a questionable email on your hands, the safest bet is to not click on anything until you can verify that the mail in question was sent from an official source.
These simple steps will give you a fighting chance in case you feel like you’re being scammed by phishing emails. Always be vigilant!
Avoid your computer altogether during tax season and stop by your local One Stop Tax and let the professionals file your taxes for you!
Tags: phishing, tax prep, tax scams Posted by