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Avoid Phishing Scams This Tax Season
March is often associated with tax season. It is probably the most dreaded season for millions of taxpayers. For many, the thought of tax season often leave them feeling overwhelmed but it doesn’t have to be. Proper preparation is the key to escape from the dreadful ordeal that we frequently associate it with. Making sure that you fill in the correct tax forms, keeping your paperwork in order and filing your taxes on time will save you from the nightmare.
Unlike the general public, tax season is the prime hunting season for cyber criminals to ply their trade. Over the years, phishing scams have been on the rise by identifying themselves as a legitimate government agency, for example, the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) in the United States.
Phishing scams and fraudulent emails are often directed to taxpayers and often request for personal information, such as a social insurance, credit card, bank account and passport numbers so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or benefit payment.
One thing is for sure, government agencies will never request personal information of any form from a taxpayer by email and will not disclose private information to another person unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
Here are a few important guidelines to avoid tax season scams:
- Be very cautious of emails asking for confidential information. Assurances of a tax incentive are more likely a tactic to steal your personal information. If you receive this form of request, confirm the sender’s identity and the validity of the request.
- Never fill out and submit confidential information via forms that are attached within e-mail messages. You should only communicate that sensitive information over the phone or through a secure government websites.
- Never click on any URLs embedded in the emails that you consider as suspicious. Instead, only navigate to the website by typing the URL directly on your browser’s address bar. Phishers may use techniques to mimic the secure address of a government agency or a proper company.
You don’t have to be a computer expert to protect yourself. The best defense against these malicious attacks is very simple: Nurturing caution and common sense at all times! If you receive an email that seems too good to be true, you may be one step away from being scammed!
When in doubt, it is advisable to contact the organization or agency responsible for your taxes directly to confirm the legitimacy of the issue.