Protect Yourself from Cybercrime at Tax Time
- Post by Karen Bartuccio
- February 25, 2021
It’s that time of year again – ready to prepare your income tax return? Let’s take a look at some potential scams to help you protect yourself from cybercrime at tax time.
This starts when an employee, usually in the organization’s human resources department, receives an email, claiming to be from the boss or supervisor, requesting W-2 information.
A family member became a victim when the human resources person neglected to confirm an email he received from the “boss” requesting W-2 data. He unwittingly forwarded W-2 information to the bad guys. The end result? After the theft was discovered, the employer implemented identity theft protection for all employees, but the damage was done.
The lesson here is always verify an email within your organization if the request sounds unusual or suspicious, especially if it involves a trove of personal information.
You may receive an email, phone call, text, or contact via social media claiming to be from the IRS.
If you receive a phone call, the number can be spoofed to look like it’s an “official” call from the IRS. Don’t give any information – instead ask for a name and badge number of the caller. If the caller hesitates, or presses for more of your personal information, hang up immediately.
If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, don’t click on it or respond, just delete it.
If you’ve completed your taxes and filed your return but the IRS rejects it, someone may have filed a fraudulent return using your Social Security number. (Stolen Social Security numbers are available on the Dark Web.)
If you’re a confirmed identify theft victim, you can help prevent someone using your stolen Social Security number from filing a fraudulent return. You can get an Identity Protection Pin from the IRS before you file your taxes.
The best way to protect yourself from cybercrime at tax time is to be aware and alert to all attempts by the bad guys to access your personal information. There is helpful information available on the IRS website. Fortunately, in most cases you’ll prepare and file your tax returns with no problems.