Protect Your Data and Your Money this Holiday and Tax Filing Season
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During the holiday shopping season and the upcoming tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry encourage individual taxpayers and businesses to secure their sensitive financial data. This can be a prime time for identity thieves seeking information they can use to file fraudulent tax returns.
Don't Take the Bait: Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams
The Internal Revenue Service and its partners in the Security Summit are working together to protect taxpayers from stolen identity refund fraud. The Security Summit consists of IRS, state tax agencies and the tax community, including tax preparation firms, software developers, payroll and tax financial product processors, tax professional organizations and financial institutions. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself from phishing scams:
- First, the most common way thieves steal your identity is simply by asking for it. Their favorite tactic is a phishing email. Phishing emails bait you into opening them. They pose as a trusted company: maybe your bank, a favorite retailer or your tax provider.
- Second, learn to recognize and avoid them. The scams tell an urgent story, i.e. there's a problem with your account, and it instructs the receiver to open an embedded link or download an attachment.
- Third, don't take the bait. The link may send you to a familiar website to log in, but your username and password goes to the thieves. Or, the scam suggests you open an attachment, which secretly downloads malicious software. Either are bad news, so just hit delete.
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