While convenient, technology and online communication have become a double-edged sword, especially during tax season. Scammers use deceptively sophisticated methods to con people into sharing sensitive information or even money, making tax season an incredibly stressful period. In this blog post, we'll share some tips on how to avoid scams and keep your personal and financial information safe.
Be wary of unsolicited calls or emails
One of the most common ways scammers try to steal your information is by reaching out to you via phone or email. They may pretend to be from the IRS or another tax authority and claim that you owe money or need to update your personal information. Remember that legitimate organizations will never call or email you out of the blue to request personal information or demand payment. If you receive a suspicious call or email, don't engage with the person on the other end. Instead, hang up or delete the email and contact the relevant organization directly using their official website or phone number to verify the legitimacy of the request.
Use a secure network and device
When it comes to filing your taxes online, it's essential to use a secure network and device. This means avoiding public Wi-Fi networks, which are often unsecured and can make it easy for scammers to intercept your data. Instead, use a secure Wi-Fi network and a device with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software installed.
Don't fall for phishing scams
Phishing scams are a type of online fraud where scammers try to trick you into giving away sensitive information, such as your login credentials or credit card details. These scams often come in the form of an email or text message that looks like it's from a legitimate organization, such as the IRS. They may ask you to click on a link or download an attachment, which can then infect your device with malware or direct you to a fake website where you'll be asked to enter your information. To avoid falling for phishing scams, always double-check the sender's email address or phone number to ensure it's legitimate. If you're unsure, contact the organization directly to confirm the request.
Be cautious of fake tax preparers
Another common scam during tax season is fake tax preparers. These are individuals or companies that offer to help you file your taxes but may charge exorbitant fees or steal your personal information. To avoid falling for this scam, do your research before hiring a tax preparer. Check their credentials and reviews online, and never provide your personal information until you're sure the person or company is legitimate.
Protect your social security number
Your social security number is one of the most sensitive pieces of information you have, and it's essential to protect it during tax season. Avoid carrying your social security card with you, and never share your number with anyone unless you're sure it's necessary. When filing your taxes online, make sure to use a secure website and only enter your social security number when prompted by the official tax authority.
It is important to remain vigilant and protect yourself from scams and fraudsters. By following these tips, you can help keep your personal and financial information safe and avoid falling victim to online scams.