Tax season can be a stressful time of year, especially when inboxes are inundated with phishing emails trying to obtain your tax refund. Each year these scams trick thousands of people who could have easily avoided financial misfortune with more preparation. When giving out personal information online always make sure you know who will be receiving it. When it comes to taxes, remember that the IRS will never contact you via email to request personal or financial information. The safest way to collect your tax return is to file electronically with the IRS FreeFile.
The main types of tax scams are:
- Fake information about tax refunds you missed. Example
- Warnings about unreported or under-reported income. Example
- Offers to assist in filing for your refunds. Example
- Dangerous links to fake IRS filing sites. Example
Often, tax phishing emails will have similar signs as other phishing emails, such as spelling errors and vague language. If an email is not addressed to you specifically then it is probably a mass message and from someone you want to avoid. If you are suspicious of an email and think it is a tax scam, don’t reply and don’t click any links inside the email. Simply forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and help keep the community safer. If you do click a link and are brought to a suspicious website, do not give out any information. If you are ever called and information is requested for tax purposes ask for a call back number and the person’s employee badge number so you can check with the IRS before giving out information. And finally, if you ever become a victim of an IRS related phishing scheme, report it here to the Federal Trade Commission so their investigators can help.
Keep your guard up and be ready for phishing attempts. For more information, visit our information page on phishing attacks to better equip yourself against phishing and social engineering scams.