Digitally pushed way of life exposes shoppers to potential dangers throughout tax season
Customers have confronted many adjustments over the previous yr with the shift to a digitally pushed way of life, and tax season with rising dangers isn’t any exception.
McAfee’s 2021 Client Safety Mindset examine discovered that whereas about 2 in 3 People (63%) plan to do their taxes on-line in 2021, 12% of People will achieve this on-line for the primary time. With the rise in on-line exercise, shoppers are probably uncovered to extra digital dangers and threats, and it’s important that they know learn how to keep secure on-line.
In line with the IRS, Prison Investigation recognized $ 2.3 billion in tax evasion schemes in fiscal 2020. Hackers goal taxpayers yearly, however enhance in on-line filings because of COVID-19[female[feminine in 2020 presented an even greater opportunity, as scams related to coronavirus tax breaks such as Economic Impact Payments, have now earned a spot on the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scam list.
Social media attacks are also relatively new to the list – thanks to the rapid development and adoption of social media platforms in recent years. Social media attacks involve crooks who harvest information from social media profiles and then use that data to impersonate someone you know in order to gain access to accounts, funds, and more. .
Other common attacks include email phishing attacks, phone calls masquerading as IRS agents, and jail-threatening robocalls. Taking advantage of the current environment, many phishing attacks now use keywords such as “coronavirus”, “COVID-19” and “stimulus”.
Additional tax scams can be harder to spot, such as when a hacker secures someone else’s social security number (SSN) and begins to exploit this sensitive information on the dark web and facilitate fraudulent tax returns. The IRS has warned of SSN-related scams, where crooks claim to be able to suspend or cancel the victim’s SSN, in the hopes that fear will cause consumers to resend Robocall voicemail messages.
Consumers can do their part this tax season to protect their privacy and keep their finances safe:
- Beware of phishing attempts. Phishing is a common tactic used by hackers during tax season, so check the legitimacy of any unknown or suspicious emails remotely. Beware of strange attachment names, and remember that the Social Security Office or the IRS will not email taxpayers.
- Deposit before a scammer does it for you. The more you are asked to deposit, the less your data will be hijacked by a fraudster.
- Beware of spoofed websites. The crooks have extremely sophisticated tools that help cover up fake web addresses for DIY tax software, such as company logos and stolen site designs. Make sure to type the URL directly into your browser’s address bar instead of following a link from an email or internet search.
- Make social media profiles private. To avoid social media scams, adjust your account settings so that only your friends and family can see them. Plus, reduce your overall digital footprint to protect yourself against these types of cybercrime.
- Consider a holistic security solution to give you the peace of mind that your identity and personal information is protected this tax season, whether it’s managing yourself online or communicating with your tax advisor virtually.