As the April tax filing deadline approaches, scammers are increasingly on the hunt for your personal information.
Con artists use unsolicited email and fake websites to lure potential victims into divulging personal information. Be leery of unexpected emails or phone calls from the IRS promising refunds or threatening to collect —
the IRS does not contact taxpayers via email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Report suspicious activity to email@example.com.
You wouldn’t give your personal information to a stranger in persion. Why would you over the phone or email? #strangerdanger
Don’t be fooled by scammers asking you to “verify” your W-2 or personal information. Some may ask you to upload a picture of your forms. The only time that the IRS would request ID verification would be if they were concerned about a suspicious tax return with a real taxpayer’s name and/or Social Security number. If that’s the case, they would generally send a Letter 5071C (check the upper corner for the number) in the mail and ask you to verify your identity using their Identity Verification Service.
Scammers impersonating IRS agents may try a carrot or a stick approach. They make aggressive or threatening calls demanding money or offering a refund. Sometimes they even alter their caller ID information to appear they’re calling from an IRS office. But that’s not how the IRS does business — the first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually via mail.
One of the most common tax scams is usually the result of identity theft that involves filing tax returns using stolen Social Security numbers. Protect your personal data; check your free credit report at least annually, and review your Social Security Administration earnings statement each year to help make sure you haven’t been targeted.
Stay safe out there.