How to avoid tax scams
A lot of us hope we don’t owe Uncle Sam money when filing our taxes. Thieves want your money even more than the IRS, and they’re getting it through your computer clicks.
It is one of the oldest tricks: a phone call. They’ll say the IRS is trying to get unpaid back taxes. They’ll even say they’ll arrest you if you don’t pay right away, which is what happened to one woman who recorded the phone call and posted it to YouTube.
She didn’t fall for it, but thousands of people do every year.
Phishing schemes are a major problem. Same email, but even if you’re smart enough to know not to give them bank or credit card numbers, just a click can be enough for them to steal everything you have.
A click to a website installs malware on your computer. It can gather personal information like those account numbers, your passwords, e-mail addresses of your friends. The malware can sit quietly on your computer for days, weeks, even months before it hatches, so you won’t know where it came from.
The malware can also track your keystrokes to gather even more information. The solution is simple: never click on a link or even open an email claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS says it doesn’t do business that way.
The IRS reports nearly 1,500 phishing attempts happened in the month of February. If you receive a phone call or e-mail from someone claiming to be from the IRS, the agency wants you to contact them on their website, irs.gov.