It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. No, it’s not time for the holidays… it’s tax season! While you’re gathering all of your documents and preparing to file this year, don’t forget that there are scammers who wait all year for this time just to have a better chance at catching you off-guard. No need to worry, though, because it’s possible to be prepared for these scammers and their tactics.
If you want to tackle this tax season scam-free, keep reading to learn how to defend and protect yourself from potential tax-related scams, this tax season and beyond.
What to Look For
While scams can be scary, they usually give themselves away if you know what you’re looking for. Should you come across or be met with any of the following, run – don’t walk – in the other direction:
– Offers for tax refunds that are “faster” or “bigger”
– Threats of arrest for non-payment of taxes
– Threats to suspend or cancel your SSN
– Asking for credit or debit card numbers
All of these instances could occur online or over the phone, so take note and be vigilant.
It’s also important to remember that the IRS never sends unsolicited emails, so never respond to, or click into content from, an unexpected email posing as the IRS. This can include:
– Emails urging for generous donations in the wake of natural disasters
– Emails instructing you to reset your password, or emails containing a one-time-use password, when you did not initiate a reset
– Emails containing apparent attachments of sensitive documents
These aim to gain access to your personal and financial information, as well as take advantage of you financially. Just remember: if a suspicious email comes through, know exactly what to do – delete it!
How to Defend Yourself
Knowledge is power, so now that you know what to look for in terms of scams, it’s important to know the steps and actions you can take to defend yourself against them.
– Make sure you have up-to-date security software on the device you’ll use to file
– Don’t provide any account login information in response to emails, texts, or calls
– Inspect hyperlink destinations by hovering over them or long-pressing on mobile devices to ensure they lead to where they say they do
– Don’t open unexpected attachments and links
– If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and contact the business directly through a published customer service line
Report Scams and Fraud
Should you ever experience an attempted – or successful – scam or fraudulent act, chances are someone else has experienced, or will experience, the same thing. When you know that you’ve come across something suspicious, make sure you report the incident to the appropriate source. At Coosa Valley Credit Union, we have a Reporting Center on our website to make it quick and convenient for members to notify us of successful or potential attacks: https://www.mycvcu.org/reporting-center
Feel prepared to face tax season safely? Armor up with your knowledge, be vigilant and quick to question, and you’ll be able to protect you, and your loved ones, every day.
For more information, visit https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts
(Originally appeared on CVCU’s blog at mycvcu.org. Please visit our blog for more financial tips and information.)