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Tax scams and how to avoid them

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Tax time, like any special time of the year, always sees an increase in phishing scams in email and online. So it is a good idea to be on your guard so you don’t become a victim.

Scams at tax time often use the IRS name/logo looking for your financial information. So, if you receive unsolicited emails from the IRS or an IRS-related agency (e.g., the Office of Professional Responsibility or the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System) don’t respond to it or click any links contained in the message or open any attachments.

Common scams:

  • Offshore account promotion that can be used as a tax shelter
  • Email from a bogus charity so you can receive a tax deduction
  • Emails threatening your for inaction
  • Emails promising benefits that sound “too good to be true”
  • Emails asking you to click on unknown links or to download something
  • And, of course, any email asking for personal data like your Social Security Number, account numbers or your mother’s maiden name. Vigilance online is always a must.

Also, be careful when you choose someone to prepare your taxes and/or download tax-related software.

If, however, you do fall prey to a scam: (1) immediately contact your credit card/bank agency; (2) change your passwords/PINs; (3) place a fraud alert on your credit report, and (4) scan your computer/device for viruses and malware. Afterwards you should be sure to review your bank statements and credit card statements for suspicious charges.

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