The deadline to file your taxes is fast approaching which means the fraudsters are on the prowl to steal your identity and your tax return.
The Internal Revenue Service recently released its annual “Dirty Dozen” tax scam list. This “Dirty Dozen” listing records a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter throughout the year. However, the majority of these tricks peak during the tax filing season as individuals prepare their tax returns.
How do you protect yourself from being an identity theft victim?
First of all, the IRS will never:
- Initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information (this includes text messages and social media channels).
- Request detailed personal information through email.
- Send any communications requesting PIN numbers, passwords, or access to credit or financial accounts.
If you receive a message or communication like these, make sure you:
- Do not reply to the message.
- Do not open any attachments (Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer).
- Do not click on any links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing website and do not enter confidential information.
If you think you clicked on a link or attachment:
- Forward the message to the IRS at email@example.com.
- Let credit agencies know that there might be fraudulent transactions in the near future.
- Change passwords on all your online accounts.
- Keep an eye on all bank and credit card statements.
- Take immediate action if anything becomes suspicious.
- Close compromised accounts.
Check out this infographic on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” and how to protect yourself today (click to expand):