Tax time is right around the corner and many of us have already started to receive our tax documents. Every year at tax time cyber criminals ramp up their attempts to steal your identity or your personal information through tax related scams. Here are some things to remember:
-The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with tax payers by email, text messages or social media channels to request or discuss personal or financial information. If you are contacted in any of these ways it is not the IRS. Many scammers attempt to scare people into giving them their personal information by saying that their payment wasn’t accepted or that their bank information for their refund was invalid. It’s a gut reaction to be afraid of getting in trouble with the IRS, but remember to check your source before reacting.
– Another way that you can be targeted is through emails that appear to be coming from a trusted source telling you that your W-2 is available to download. Clicking on the link will bring you to a login page where once you put in your credentials your information can be stolen or malware can be snuck onto your device.
-Before clicking on any link in an email make 100% sure that the sender and the request are legitimate. If you usually get your W-2 through the mail or in person at your place of employment reach out to the payroll company to make sure this is a new method of delivery. Small changes can be made to a link or email address so that it looks legitimate but is not. It might be as simple as an extra period, a .net instead of a .com or a misspelled word. When in doubt don’t click on the link in the email, instead go to the website through a trusted webpage link or app to access a login page you know is secure.
If you receive an email or phone call that seems suspicious in any way it is better to double check and confirm that they are legitimate before giving over any personal information. A few minutes of your time could save you from the major headache and stress of stolen information any day.