Criminals love to use fake information about taxes to lure unsuspecting victims into sharing their personal information. These nefarious schemes often come in the form of phishing or spear phishing. Keep reading to learn more about these two tactics employed by criminals.
Phishing and Spear Phishing
Phishing is a type of online scam where the attacker attempts to trick individuals into revealing their sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, or credit card numbers by impersonating a legitimate institution (such as a bank, or even the IRS) through emails, messages, or websites.
Spear phishing, on the other hand, is a type of phishing campaign that targets a specific person or group and often will include information known to be of interest to the target, such as current events or financial documents.
With so many people talking about taxes these days (due to the April 18 tax deadline and the extension for Californians affected by the storms of early 2023), the phishing season is in full swing.
The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to ward off phishing attempts:
- Be wary of unsolicited emails or messages
- Never provide personal or financial information over emails or links, and avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments.
- Verify the identity of the sender by contacting the organization directly, to confirm the authenticity of the email or message.
- Stay informed and up-to-date about the latest phishing techniques, by researching, reading online resources, and attending webinars.
- Use strong and unique passwords, and enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible to protect your personal information3.
- Do not be intimidated by an email that appears to be threatening or urgent, and check for tell-tale signs of phishing, such as misspellings, generic greetings, or unfamiliar URLs. This is particularly important when it comes to taxes, as criminals impersonating the IRS often use threats to scare victims into providing their information.
- Be careful while using public Wi-Fi, as hackers can intercept your sensitive data through unsecured networks.
To learn more about taxes, check out our previous blogs, “Missed the April 18 Tax-Filing Deadline? Here’s What You Need To Do”
JT Tax Services: Taxes Made Easy
When it comes to taxes, knowledge is power. That’s why at At JT Tax Services, we give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are working with experienced professionals with in-depth knowledge of all applicable tax laws and regulations.
We are located in Oxnard, California, contact us today by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone (805-984-8890), or through our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to schedule a consultation or to learn more about our services.