Security Issues: Tax Phishing Scams

Tax season is here, and with it comes a wide variety of phishing scams from cybercriminals. So in this One-Minute Wednesday, we’ll walk you through some common tactics they use and how you can remain safe.

Common Tax Phishing Scams

One common method is posing as high-level employees such as an HR manager or the CEO. They’ll distribute emails asking for highly sensitive information, like W-2 forms. Their messages use phrases like “Hurry I need this now!” to give a sense of urgency.

Hackers will also pretend to be the IRS or banks and send messages that have stolen logos, images and email addresses to convince users to pay non-existent bills. Another common method is over the phone, especially since IRS Assistance numbers can be forged on caller ID. The victims will usually be told that they have a balance that must be paid via wire transfer or debit card. To further trick them, the hacker’s message will usually threaten local law enforcement to get involved if they refuse payment.

Staying On Guard

So, you can tell what a tax scam looks like. Now what can you do to stay safe?

  • First, if you get a call or email demanding money from you, ignore it. The IRS won’t request payment over the phone.
  • If a co-worker requests personal or tax information, double check with them in person. Never click links or attachments that come from suspicious emails either, since they’re usually malware in disguise.
  • Also, the IRS has their own process in place for when money is owed, so ignore any threats that the police will come after you or use other forms of force to get you to pay.
  • Lastly, never file your taxes on Public Wi-Fi, such as in a coffee shop, as these networks aren’t secure.
  • Now you have some knowledge on how to file your taxes while staying safe. Thanks for watching and come back next week for more!


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