As tax season gets underway in the US, hackers have begun to seek out ways to steal the hard-earned refunds and valuable personal information by sending out emails pretending to be from one of the major tax preparation companies. In one case, customers of the popular tax service, Intuit, have been especially targeted
Intuit.com, one of the many tax preparation services, was recently targeted by hackers looking to spoof their website. The email going around is a classic scam email scammers frequently use. The “Intuit” version of the malicious email implies that your account has been suspended and invites you to click on the link to restore access. By clicking the link in the email, you will be taken to a fake landing page asking to enter your account credentials. .”(1) As the tax season goes on hackers will continue to exploit vulnerabilities of the public through a myriad of scams.
The following are some of the more common scams during tax season and their tells.
The IRS communicates by mail and never sends you an email demanding money or personal information. If you get an email from the IRS demanding anything, consider it a scam immediately. By using tax transcripts to rope in unsuspecting victims, malware is subsequently downloaded to a computer through the fake documents in the email, says the IRS. Known as Emotet malware, the result of an attack can be devastating. If you receive an email labeled “Tax Account Transcript” from an IRS Online, do not open it. Any suspicious emails should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone scams aren’t digital, but now there are aspects of them that require technology to work. By mimicking an official IRS phone line, that shows up on caller ID, thieves get victims on the phone quickly. If a taxpayer asks questions, the scammer will direct the victim to the IRS website and ask them to verify the phone number, according to the IRS. Then they hang up and call back from a “government” number and get the verification. From there, the scammers go right back to asking for money. The problem is that now they’ve used the IRS website in order to fuel their phony story, which people fall for.
One common scam is to call from a spoofed number as a charity. The scammer will most likely do their research and know information about the charity. While posing as a credible charity, they will seek to obtain credit card or personal information. The victim may not even find out they were duped.
Hyper Vigilance During Tax Time is Key
The closer we get to any deadlines, the more prevalent tax thieves are going to be. One of the biggest ways that taxpayers are fooled is through fake charity donation requests, according to the IRS. The best strategy is to be vigilant.
Phishing, emails, malware. While they are not going away anytime soon, the best you can do is continue to remember the following.
- The IRS will never email you or call to demand money.
- Never give personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call
- When donating to charities, go directly to their website
- Never lg onto a bank account or other personal account from an email