I know there is a lot going on in our country, but we all have one thing in common, April 15th. Since we’re in tax season, here is a list of the most recent tax scams and other tactics that the IRS wants us to watch out for and what we can do to avoid falling victim.
1. Scam artists calling saying they have your tax return and need to verify a few details, sometimes they even say they work for the IRS. They might even have a fake identification number, and will already know some information about you. They also have the capability to make the caller ID look like the IRS is calling.
2. Phishing and Malware E-mails – clicking on the links will only send you to fake websites asking for personal information. The websites can also have malware, which can infect your computer. There is a new email going around asking people to log-in to the IRS website and update their online e-file. This IS NOT the IRS website, it’s a scam and they are just trying to collect your personal information.
So what can you do if you are called or receive an e-mail:
The IRS will never:
1. Call you to demand payment, and they will not call about taxes that are owed, because they will mail you first.
2. Demand that you pay now without giving you the chance to ask questions or make an appeal.
3. Require you make a payment with a certain form of payment, like a prepaid debit card.
4. Ask for credit card or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. Threaten you by bringing in the local police to arrest you for not paying.
If you are contacted or receive and email, DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THE EMAILS. What you should do, is forward the email to the IRS. Send all questionable emails to email@example.com. Always remember the IRS will not contact a taxpayer by email to ask for personal or financial information. Another point to all of this information is to educate and inform ourselves on how to better protect our personal information.
For example, major corporations, like Microsoft, or any banks, will not call you and ask for personal information. There are other forms of communications that major corporations will use, and usually when YOU call THEM, they are having YOU verify a password, or your last purchase (credit card companies, etc), so that you are verifing your identity to them, not the other way around.
So, the next time someone calls or emails and asks you to verify ANY personal information:
1. Say no
2. Hang up
3. Call the company directly – you can usually find the contact information on any written correspondence from the company.
Frankie OnCall is always available to you if you have any needs about security or virus protection. Don’t forget to take advantage of our Spring Special – 10% off a Spring Computer Tune-Up.