Tax season is everyone’s favorite time of year, but don’t fall for online scams in your excitement! That’s right, this time of year brings out cybercriminals in droves looking to scam you out of your money and data. Watch out for these most common methods used by cybercriminals:
IRS-impersonation phone scams – This happens when someone calls claiming to be from the IRS and insists that you owe them money. There will also be a strong sense of urgency behind their call, as they will try to get you to pay quickly before you realize the scam. If you don’t answer, they may even leave an emergency call back request message. Don’t let their urgency scare you. The real IRS will never call you requesting money.
Increase in phishing, email, and malware schemes - Around this time of year, you can expect to see an increase in suspicious emails. Cybercriminals will try to impersonate tax preparation agencies and financial institutions to steal your information or infect your device with malware. Be on the lookout for emails that seem a bit off and always make sure you verify the sender before clicking on any links or attachments. Intuit keeps an updated list of reported phishing emails that have tried to impersonate them.
Fraudulent tax returns – It’s always best to file your tax return as soon as possible. The IRS only accepts one return per Social Security number, so once you file, it becomes impossible for a hacker to impersonate you. Additionally, keep an eye on your credit to ensure there is no suspicious activity taking place.
Tax preparer fraud – Always get your taxes prepared through a legitimate company or service. You never know who might try to take advantage of you.
At the end of the day, just practice good cyber hygiene and don’t wait until the last minute to file your taxes. Stay safe and happy tax season!
Written by Elizabeth Dasenbrock
Elizabeth Dasenbrock is a marketer/graphic designer whose mission has always been to creatively express stories and ideas. Her skill set allows her to convey concepts to particular audiences in a visually appealing way. At TechGuard, she works on the marketing team with a focus on graphic design. In her free time, she can usually be found working on personal creative projects, tending to her houseplants, or spending time with friends and family.