As tax season ramps up, you may be feeling the pressure to get your return filed on time. The good news is that there are plenty of online tools and resources to help make the process easier. These solutions defend against all different types of cybercrime. But you need to be careful – cybercriminals are targeting taxpayers with a variety of scams designed to steal your money or personal information.
In this blog post, we’ll provide tips on how to protect yourself from tax-related scams and how security tools like Guardio can help keep you safe online.
How Common Are These Scams?
Let’s let the data speak for itself. According to a recent report from the IRS, 17,000 people have fallen victim to tax-related scams in 2020 alone. And our own data shows that the leading tax protection software blocks an average of 33 million phishing attacks and nearly three million malware attacks related to taxes and other financial services each month. That’s a lot of people being targeted by scammers! And it’s only going to get worse as we head into tax season. So what can you do to protect yourself?
How Tax-Related Scams Operate?
Tax-related scams come in many different forms, but they all have one thing in common: they’re designed to trick you into giving up your personal or financial information. Here are some of the most common tax scams. First, phishing emails are emails that appear to be from the IRS or another tax authority, asking you to click on a link or download an attachment. If you do, you may be taken to a fake website that looks legitimate and be asked to enter sensitive information like your Social Security number or credit card details.
Malware attacks are where cybercriminals use malicious software to infect your computer or device. Once infected, they can access your personal information and even file taxes in your name without you knowing. Another type of cybercrime includes telephone scams, which are phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS or another tax authority. They may threaten you with arrest or legal action if you don’t pay them a sum of money, often asking for payment in the form of gift cards or wire transfers.
How To Prevent It?
There are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself from tax-related scams:
- Invest in security software: A good security solution can help block phishing and malware attacks, as well as provide other features like dark web monitoring to keep your personal information safe. Plus, they can provide credit identity fraud alerts to notify you of any scams.
- Be on the lookout for fake emails, websites, and other phishing attacks that pretend to be from the IRS or other tax authorities. Be on the lookout for email phishing scams. Cybercriminals will send fake emails that look like they’re from the IRS or another government agency in an attempt to steal your personal information or login credentials. If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or attachments – just delete it.
- Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails – even if they look legitimate.
- Don’t give out personal information like your Social Security number or corporate bank account details unless you’re sure you’re dealing with a legitimate organization.
- Never give out your personal information online or over the phone unless you’re 100% sure you know who you’re dealing with. This includes your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account information, or credit card numbers.
- Beware of tax-related scams on social media. Cybercriminals are using platforms like Facebook and Instagram to spread fake offers for free money or tax refunds. Don’t click on any links or provide personal information unless you’re absolutely sure it’s a legitimate offer from a trusted source.
- Use a secure browser when filing your taxes online.
When it comes to tax season, cybercriminals are ramping up their efforts to target taxpayers. But by following the tips above, being cautious of the information you share online and investing in open source security software, you can help protect yourself from tax-related scams.