The tax season is the time when tax scammers are the most active. Therefore, along with preparing and filing taxes, taxpayers also need to keep themselves secure from scammers’ attempts to steal their identity. Identity theft remains the most widespread type of tax fraud.
Most taxpayers are familiar with phishing attempts by scammers. In order to steal the tax and personal information of taxpayers, scammers send unsolicited emails to thousands of taxpayers. The email is made to look like one from a reputable institution such as the IRS.
The email either has links that lead taxpayers to fake web pages designed to extract tax, financial and personal information about the user, or has attachments that contain malware. Upon opening these attachments, the malware extracts the information from a computer, which is then used by the scammers to commit tax and financial crimes. Phishing remains one of the top methods of conducting identity theft because of the ease of its use.
As law enforcement agencies ramp up the investigation and prosecution of identity theft, they have been recovering thousands of stolen identities of taxpayers from identity thieves. Taxpayers must make sure that you do not share their SSN with any unverified source, as it can easily be used to file a fraudulent tax return on their behalf. Filing early is the best way to stay safe from tax frauds.