Tax season is upon us, a time of year when the scammers go into overdrive. Be extra careful while online and avoid activities that could put your identity and finances at risk. It doesn’t matter whether you owe money to the IRS or are expecting a refund, as the scammers will target you regardless of your situation.
Here are some common tax scams, warning signs that you may be a victim and steps to take to protect your identity and your finances.
Common tax scams
Cybercriminals use the same tried-and-true methods for tax scams as they do with other targeted attacks. Scammers often use these attempts to create a sense of urgency or have a good story that might compel you to disclose personal information such as your date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s-license number or even usernames and passwords to your accounts.
Common tax scams to look out for.
Warning signs and ways to protect yourself
Hopefully, you have avoided the common tax scams, but cybercriminals may have other methods of obtaining your information, such as data breaches at companies you do business with.
Here are warning signs that you may already be a victim.
How to protect yourself
- Don’t email tax documents.
- You should never email tax documents from your MSU Denver email account, whether they are yours or someone else’s. Tax documents contain confidential information and should only ever be transmitted using secure file-transfer and sharing systems such as LiquidFiles, in accordance with MSU Denver’s Data Classification and Email and Electronics Security policies.
- Become familiar with identity-theft resources.
- Use email and internet security best practices.
- Report any suspicious emails (tax-related or otherwise) in your MSU Denver email account to [email protected], as well.
- Know how IRS representatives operate.
- Donate only to trustworthy charitable organizations.
- Beware of tax preparers that accept only cash payments or offer to claim fake deductions to inflate your tax refund.
- Secure your identity with an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS to prevent someone else from filing in your name.
Read the full article from the Center for Internet Security here.