‘Tis the season – cybercriminal activity usually increases during this time of the year, often by using phone and email phishing scams. They try to access your personal information using a variety of tricks and strategies in order to file income tax returns and claim fraudulent refunds, unbeknownst to the affected taxpayers. Some cybercriminals may also accuse an individual of owing taxes and aggressively demand payment for a quick payout.
According to the IRS, scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
The IRS reminds taxpayers that they do not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. They also do not call to demand immediate payment, call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill, and will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.
If you feel you have been a victim of a tax scam, the IRS has a handy chart to help you identify the problem and the next steps you should take. Be cautious this time of year!