Tax season is yet another ripe opportunity for cyber crime. Criminals will try to trick you in to giving up your information. One method they use is to send you an email that informs you that you are a victim of Internet fraud. The message requests that you fill out a form with your personal information and submit to them for restitution. Not only have you just forfeited your identity, but the email and form could be loaded with malicious code that could further victimize you. Fake tax returns have been prevalent in recent years. Many find out too late they are victims. When filing an electronic tax return it is rejected as a duplicate. At this point the victim will need to file on paper and this process can greatly delay the tax return process. The IRS is making some progress to prevent tax identity theft and fraud. One method is to use a 16 character security code on the W-2 tax forms. This code will be used to verify the filing. What can you do to protect yourself?
- File your taxes early.
- If you file your own taxes, keep your security software up to date.
- Do not respond to any email requests from the IRS. They will not contact you via email.
- Be wary of any emails that ask for personal information, money or have a sense of urgency.
- Remember that these scams can also be phone calls, text messages and mail. Phone-based scams can threaten you with arrest or other penalties if you don’t pay immediately over the phone.
- Report any suspicious activity.