March 22, 2017
As we progress through the remainder of the filing season, remember that individuals and tax preparers must always guard against identity theft by protecting personal, financial and tax information. This includes taking steps to protect their computer systems.
Identity thieves frequently use phishing emails in an effort to obtain information or take over computers. These types of emails appear to be from a familiar organization such as a bank, credit card company, the IRS or a State tax agency. These ruses usually urge taxpayers to give up sensitive personal data, financial data or passwords.
These types of scams usually will ask the recipient to verify information by clicking on a link included in the email. Once the individual clicks on the link they are taken to a website and asked to enter their personal information. Once the recipient types in the information the scammer now has their information and can use it to commit tax identity theft. Clicking on link may also allow malware to be downloaded which may lead to the scammer gaining access to all the information on their computer.
Everyone should learn to recognize phishing emails and to avoid becoming a victim of these scams you should never open an attachment or click on a link in an email from a source you do not recognize or are suspicious of.
Some recent examples of phishing schemes to be aware of:
Besides being on the lookout for phishing emails, taxpayers and tax preparers should do the following to help protect themselves:
For more information on how combat identity theft and protect yourself see the following on the IRS website: