Phishing scams (pronounced “fishing”) is the attempt to acquire sensitive information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing is done by someone sending an email to a user. They falsely claim to be a genuine business you may be familiar with. Do not be fooled, it is attempt to scam you into providing private information that will be used to steal your identity and possibly your tax refund.
Such information includes, but is not limited to: usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money). There is even an email scam claiming to be the IRS. It is probably the most likely way you would least suspect to be hooked, when it comes to identity theft.
How Is Phishing Possible?
All of us say, “I would NEVER give out my private information.” We believe you, not knowingly. However, you could get dubbed into giving out. Phishing scams are typically carried out by e-mail spoofing or instant messaging. Communications claim to be from popular social websites, auction sites, popular paid apps, banks, online payment processors or your own in-house IT administrators, are commonly used to lure you.
Phishing e-mails are designed to entice you to visit a fake website. Of course, this is done by fear tactics. “Your account has been compromised.” As the owner, you are asked to update details about your personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers. This is information that a legitimate organization already has. The notice directs users to a fake website and enter details there. The website is designed to look and feel almost identical to a legitimate one. It is set up ONLY to steal your information. And these scammers are so nice, they even provide links for your convenience. DO NOT click on the links, as they may lead you to a bogus website with malware on it.
In the meantime, imagine trying to file your return and it gets rejected because the IRS has it already filed. You attempt to get a copy of the return but can’t because you don’t have the ID of the other unfortunate taxpayer who was used as the other spouse on the return. All the while, the scammers are enjoying your stolen refund freely.
Are You Concerned About Phishing Scams, Tactics and Your Taxes?
Our best advice to you is if you get an email from someone that you do know, or the email subject line does not sound right, delete it. Do not open it! Don’t open attachments, and if you did open it by mistake, do not click on the links.
At Worthtax, we want you to be aware of the tactics behind phishing scams, especially when it comes to your tax refunds. If you have not received your refund, and you believe you may have become a victim of tax identity theft, visit our Tax Identity Theft Information Center or call Alex Franch, BS EA at 781.849.7200. He can help you with the paper work involved to restore your right identity with the IRS. We have locations in Quincy, Weymouth and Dedham.
Other Tax Identity Theft Help Articles:
- Scams: Identify, Avoid Them! Part 2 of 4
- IRS Email Scam: Stop, Think, Delete
- Top 12 IRS Scams for 2016
- Taxpayer Identity Theft: IRS versus Massachusetts
- Watch Out For the ‘Dirty Dozen’ of 2013