Fraud is a year-round activity, but tax season brings an uptick in calculated schemes to steal money and personal information through fake messages and other means. Cybersecurity firms have also reported an increase in fraudulent attempts to exploit the conflict in Ukraine – a situation that has raised concerns about potential cyberattacks against US companies. Our Technical Tips columnist, JD Biersdorfer, reports that you can better protect yourself if you know what’s out there. This is a guide.
Avoid Tax Scams: The Internal Revenue Service does not first contact taxpayers via email, text message or social media channels to request personal or financial information – including bank account numbers or credit card, password or PIN. The messages requesting such information are “phishing” attempts to steal money and identity.
Donate wisely: Opportunity scammers are quick to take advantage of natural disasters and humanitarian crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Receive messages from unfamiliar organizations asking for credit card or cryptocurrency donations. Crowdfunding campaigns should be avoided or scrutinized unless you know the organizer.
Report a Phishing Effort: If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, you can report it by forwarding the message to [email protected] You can make a general report of fraud on the Federal Trade Commission’s website. Gmail and Outlook.com include menus to report phishing attempts, while Yahoo has a form to fill out.
Be on the lookout: As the Federal Trade Commission notes, common signs of a scam typically include someone impersonating a familiar organization and telling you there’s a problem (or sometimes a problem). prize). Scammers pressure you to act immediately and demand payment in a particular way.
READ MORE on how to protect yourself from common scams this spring →