The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for tax scams as filing season gets underway. These include phishing scams where criminals send emails while posing as banks, tax software companies, or government agencies, in order to get money, passwords, or social security numbers.
Scam emails can also infect your computer with malware, giving criminals access to sensitive files or login information. Phone scams also remain an issue, with callers claiming to be from the IRS and demanding that victims pay a bogus tax bill.
The IRS says it generally doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers through email or phone calls, and they won’t call or email demanding immediate payment. Additionally, if you know you don’t owe taxes, there’s no need to give out any information.
The IRS also reminds taxpayers to protect their computers and only give out their Social Security numbers when absolutely necessary. Criminals can use stolen Social Security numbers to steal your identity and file tax returns claiming a fraudulent refund.
Taxpayers should also be careful of dishonest tax preparers. When choosing tax professionals, the IRS says to make sure they’re registered with the IRS, to ask if they have any professional certifications, and to check their history with the Better Business Bureau.
For more information about how to protect yourself from these and other tax scams, visit IRS.gov.