Although the tax season is over, tax scammers remain active. During tax season, scammers mostly look to steal tax information to file fraudulent returns and claim huge refunds. After the tax season, on the other hand, they may be after your tax and financial information to access your bank accounts, or dupe you into sending money to them using wire transfer, debit card or credit card. Scammers use false identities as masks to hide their real identity and purpose.
To stay protected from tax scammers at all times, consider these tips:
• Never carry out unsecured tax or financial transactions on websites that might be fraudulent. Remember to type the correct URL when visiting websites where you need to enter personal, tax or financial information. When using free Wi-Fi in hotels, airports or cafes, never reveal your account information or passwords, and be sure to log out of any active sessions.
• Do not input any sensitive information on a computer you share with your children. Your children may inadvertently share this information with others or allow malware to steal information from your computer.
• Never click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails, especially if they seem to be from the IRS or a reputable financial institution. Instead, contact the institution by phone or using their website by typing in their URL, and not by clicking on the link in the email.
• When entering confidential information on a website, always check the padlock symbol and make sure the URL is http secure (https).
• Always use a firewall to protect your computer from malware and viruses. Scammers have been known to use malware to extract sensitive information from computers.
• Before sharing any personal, tax or financial information, always check the authenticity of the recipient using multiple sources.