The Internal Revenue Service has been warning taxpayers to watch out for phony websites and emails looking to steal personal information. The was a big spike in these “Phishing” schemes this last tax season, plus the IRS has seen email scams targeting tax and payroll professionals as well as human resources personnel and schools in addition to average taxpayers.
In these scams, criminals pose as a person or organization the taxpayer trusts or recognizes, such as a bank, credit card company, tax software provider or government agency. There are websites that appear legit but have fake login pages so that victims will provide passwords, social security number s and other information that can be used for identity theft directly or can be sold to other criminals to use.
Some of the scams are increasingly targeting tax professionals in an attempt to access their cleint list of personal and financial data.
These phony emails and websites can also infect the victim’s computer with malware, giving the criminal access to the device so they can find sensitive information as well as track keyboard strokes, allowing access to login information.
Just remember that Government Agencies don’t communicate by email but by certified mail. Be proactive and don’t blindly open email that you were not expecting plus look at the email account the email is coming from before opening, as well as be careful on opening attachments to email; doing so will keep your information safer as well as allow you to communicate to your contacts the need to be careful in this age of easy hacking.
Thanks to the IRS and to my collegue, Kelly Phillips Erb, who has written about this for the last few years in Forbes.com.
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