Learn How To Protect Yourself From Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud

Learn How To Protect Yourself From Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud

In today’s modern world, we are constantly being assaulted by spam, phishing schemes, fraud, and identity theft. Cyber threats come in many forms: email, phone calls, texts, malware, social media, and even fraudulent calendar invites. Recently, the IRS began warning taxpayers and businesses of a new and improved email phishing scam in which criminals are impersonating the IRS. Sending unsolicited emails with subject lines like “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder,” these criminals are baiting taxpayers with legitimate-looking links to gain access.  They are counting on their victims to feel pressured by “temporary password” links or “one-time password” links to secure a fake refund offer, and instead implant a malicious file to steal identity information.

“The IRS does not send emails about your tax refund or sensitive financial information,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement last week. “This latest scheme is yet another reminder that tax scams are a year-round business for thieves. We urge you to be on guard at all times.”

These schemes continue to show the sophistication and adaptability of cybercriminals, making it critical to remain vigilant in protecting your personal information. Government agencies like the IRS or Social Security Administration do not initiate communication by email, automated phone call, text, or social media to discuss or exchange personal information. Neither does the IRS demand, via phone call, immediate payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer without first sending a bill to a taxpayer who owes taxes. 

To combat tax-related identity theft and expose tax scams, the Security Summit was begun teaming up the IRS with major tax preparation chains, tax preparation software providers, and state tax authorities. Although they are making progress in fighting stolen identity tax refund fraud, taxpayers are still susceptible to scams seeking to expose their private information. The best way to protect themselves is to employ cybersecurity protection services, careful housekeeping practices, and discretion of personal information. 

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