Tax season is one of the worst times of year for identity theft. It's a three-month stretch where millions of Americans are not only looking to get their income tax filings into the IRS by April 15, but are also looking for help on just how to go about doing that. For identity thieves, this can be a golden opportunity, taking advantage of this need for help in order to get a look at others' sensitive documents.
As Webroot discusses, tax season means there are tax scammers everywhere. These criminals like to prey on vulnerable groups of people - like the elderly or low-income demographics - offering free services that will guarantee big tax refunds. These scam artists are only interested in copying the personal and financial data of others, committing theft of identity and ruining the credit histories of trusting, unsuspecting people.
To help protect yourself during tax season, here are some precautions to take:
- Be wary of email and social media scams. The IRS will never contact you in this manner, so if you find a message purporting to be sent by them, it is very likely a scam attempt.
- Don't send sensitive data through emails.
- Never click on links you don't recognize and don't allow yourself to be referred to a tax website.
- Only navigate tax websites with trusted URLs.
- Password-protect your internet connection and storage options (CDs, external hard drives, flash drives, etc.). Use strong passwords. Don't rely on easily guessable choices, like birthdays or "123456".
- Secure your computer with firewalls and anti-virus software.
Beat ID thieves to your refund. #TAXRACE
Source: Webroot — http://www.webroot.com/us/en/home/resources/tips/online-shopping-banking/protect-yourself-from-identity-theft-tax-scams