Tax filing season brings with it a spike in scams designed to steal personal information from taxpayers. As these scams become increasingly sophisticated, so must you! The bad guys are out for your identity and your money.
One scam involves sending a taxpayer a "phishing" email that seems authentic. The email states either that you owe money, or are entitled to a refund and may direct you to an "IRS" website that looks very much like the real thing. But remember, the IRS will not contact you by email, phone text or social media. If you receive an email that purports to be from the IRS, don't open it. Don't click on any links or attachments. Don't provide any information. Instead, alert the IRS by forwarding the message to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone fraud is another potential problem. In fact, fake IRS phone calls top the list of the agency's "Dirty Dozen" tax scams for 2015. The caller will claim to be from the IRS, and the caller ID information may lead you to believe he's telling the truth. The caller often demands money or will leave an "urgent" message requesting that you return the call. Don't call back, and provide no personal information. Report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 or at its website.
For more information on how to protect your personal information from tax scams, click here.