Tax Fraud Is on the Rise, Be Extra Careful to Avoid Phishing Attacks
This is tax season, which also means this is tax scam season, and email fraud is up 400% this year, according to the IRS. The good news is that scams are pretty easy to spot.
The IRS press release said:
The IRS resumed alerting consumers to email schemes after seeing a roughly 400 percent spike in phishing and malware incidents this tax season.
The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking they are official communications from the IRS or other tax industry actors, including tax software companies. checking PIN information.
When you click on any of these email links, you are taken to a site that looks just like the official IRS page, but is in fact a scam site asking for your personal information. These sites may also contain malware. In January, the IRS recorded over a thousand such incidents, up from 254 in the same period last year.
The IRS says it doesn’t normally email taxpayers with any personal information, so this is the biggest red flag: just getting an email from an organization claiming to be the IRS. And here are some recent email scam subject lines:
- Numerous options for people tax refunds
- Update your registration information, which may include links to W-2.
- Confirm your personal information.
- Get my IP address.
- Get my PIN for the email file.
- Order a transcript.
- Complete your tax return information.
The IRS says variants of this scam are also being sent out via text messages. It also helps to find out the general characteristics of phone call scams, because scammers often accompany their calls with email. They might call the last four of your Social Security numbers, or even fake the IRS toll-free number in your Caller ID. If you think you were sent by a scammer, please forward it to email@example.com and of course don’t click on anything in the email. You can also call the IRS directly at 1.800.829.1040 to see if they are actually trying to contact you.
To learn more about how to protect yourself, follow the links below. We also have tips on how to avoid online identity theft and what to do if you think you have been the victim of such a scam. You can also get information about these personal data protection resources from the IRS.