With the arrival of tax season, comes along the creative ways that scammers use to try and steal your identity. These kinds of scams can be done at any time of the year, but happen more frequently during tax season.
Phishing, the fraudulent attempt to obtain someone’s sensitive information or data, is usually the tool of choice that most scammers use to trick victims into giving away their personal information. Below we will explain how some of these scams work and tips you can take to avoid becoming a victim of them.
Someone will call you, claiming to work for the IRS, usually stating a fake name and identification badge number. They will sometimes already know a few personal things about you – such as your name and address, and even mask their caller ID so it looks like the IRS is really calling you.
Email Phishing Scams
The IRS recently issued an urgent notice surrounding a new email scam, with the subject line: “Verifying your EFIN before e-filing,” that attempts to steal the targets Electronic Filing Identification Numbers, or EFINs. The email includes a link to a bogus website that mirrors the IRS website, requesting for taxpayers to send documents that disclose their identities and EFINs directly to the scammers. Remember, the IRS will never contact you via email, text message or social media.
Identity Theft Scams
Tax-related identity theft happens when the victim’s social security number is used to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund. Identity theft can have major impacts on your life if you become a victim.
We talk more about this and give tips on keeping your identity safe in our Identity Theft & Fraud Protection article.
Here are some tips for avoiding ID theft scams during tax season from the Better Business Bureau:
- File your taxes as early as you can to prevent the chance of a scammer using your personal information.
- Protect your Social Security number and avoid giving it out unless you know who you are giving it to.
- Be sure to research your tax preparer and feel confident that they are trustworthy with your information before filing.
- Consider getting an Identity Protection PIN, or IP PIN from the IRS.
You can find more information about these tips on BBB’s website.
For More Information: Read more about Tax Scams on the IRS website. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, contact the IRS immediately.