Tax season is like the Super Bowl for identity thieves and that means that you need to be on high alert for scams. Here’s some that you need to guard against:
IRS Phone Scam
- Where someone pretending to be from the IRS contacts a consumer stating they owe back taxes and threatens them with jail time if they don’t pay. These fraudsters prey on fear and many consumers give in, paying a bogus fee through prepaid card, wiring money or even an iTunes card. Golden rule – the IRS never calls, emails or texts. If you receive these calls, hang up.
- Imposters are using phishing schemes to target the HR departments of businesses asking for W-2 or W-9 information. In these spear phishing schemes, the emails appear legitimate but they are designed to steal important financial documents. If you receive this email or text, don’t respond.
Child ID Theft
- Fraudsters target children’s data because they have clean, pristine credit profiles and they can use this data for a host of ID theft schemes, including tax related, medical, financial and even criminal.
- Parents need to be on high alert for child ID theft and should create a credit profile for their child and then freeze it.
Medicare and Social Security Scams
- Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries across the country report receiving calls from scam operators (frequently with foreign accents), who claim to represent Medicare, Social Security, or an insurance company.
- These callers claim that new Medicare, Social Security, or supplemental insurance benefits cards are being issued or that the beneficiary’s file must be updated. The scam artist asks the consumer to verify or provide their personal banking information, which the scammer then uses to commit ID theft.
- The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration will not call you to ask you to disclose personal or financial information.
To combat tax fraud, consumers need to file early, take advantage of the PIN if they have been a victim of fraud, use long and strong passwords, enable two factor authentication, use legitimate tax preparers, store important tax docs on an encrypted thumb drive and never give out personal or financial info to someone who contacts you, even if the caller ID looks legit.
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