Fraudsters evolve with the times, so it’s no surprise that they are exploiting the internet to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Phishing is one of the favorite tactics of cybercriminals, who often (and illegally) mention taxes or pose as tax institutions as part of the ruse.
Keep reading to learn more about phishing and to discover ways to protect yourself against this threat.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a type of scam where cybercriminals pose as trustworthy institutions (such as banks or the IRS itself) and send malicious emails or create fake websites with the intent of luring you into providing your personal information.
How to Protect Yourself Against Phishing
Phishing can be particularly insidious, but these simple steps go a long way toward avoiding falling prey to cybercriminals.
- Be wary of unsolicited emails, social media messages, or text messages.
- Don’t reply to suspect messages.
- Bad grammar and poor spelling are some tell-tale signs of fraud.
- Scare tactics and threats are red flags that should put you on alert.
- If you receive a suspect email, don’t open any attachments and don’t click on any links.
Keep in mind that phishing may assume many forms. For example, you may encounter it as messages that pop up when you open a website. It may even occur as phone and VoIP calls, so make sure to keep your guard up at all times.
How to Report Phishing Attempts
We repeat this tip from the previous section because it’s extremely important: don’t reply to suspect emails.
If the email is tax-related, forward it to the IRS at (firstname.lastname@example.org) preferably with the full email headers.
If you experience a monetary loss due to an IRS-related phishing incident, you should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGA) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In the case of text messages, you can forward the text to the IRS at 202-552-1226 and, if possible, forward the originating number in a separate message.
Get Advice From the Experts at JT Tax Services
At JT Tax Services we have the experience, the knowledge, and the drive to meet all your tax needs. We help you file your taxes with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are limiting your liability while staying compliant with federal and state tax regulations.