As I’m sure you already know, it’s tax season again and as in years past it’s go-time for scammers. What’s different this year is that because of Covid-19, the IRS extended the deadline for filing from the usual April 15th to May 17th. Not only does this give you over an extra month to file, but the scammers additional time to run their schemes on unsuspecting victims.
The IRS released a short video about how these scams work – I recommend giving it 1 minute of your time: https://youtu.be/qmBDJeCI_h4
The most common way tax-time scammers attack their victims are with a batteries of phishing emails. They’re usually designed to impersonate the IRS and often include some sort of alarming notice stating a problem with your taxes which will result in a delay to your refund.
The objective is to get you worried enough to click on one of the links embedded in the email. The link may take you to a website that looks like the IRS.gov website, but is instead a cleverly disguised malicious site controlled by cybercriminals. Any information you enter is going straight to the criminals and they’re going to ask for as much as possible, including personal information, social security numbers, banking information, credit card numbers and so on. Don’t fall for it!
Remember, the IRS will never ask for personal information by email. If you suspect a problem with your account, or with the taxes you may have already filed, go to the IRS’s website directly instead of clicking on any embedded link from an email. Even better, pick up the phone and speak with someone at the IRS directly. Their number is (800) 829-1040. If you have trouble getting through, keep trying and keep holding. I know this can be frustrating as it’s one of the busiest times of year but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Stay safe out there.