The IRS is reporting a 400% surge in tax-related phishing and malware incidents this tax season which means all of us have to play it smart online. Tax season is prime time for cyber crime because so many of us file our taxes online and have our refunds automatically deposited into our bank accounts.
"Be especially vigilant if your receive unsolicited requests for your personal and/or financial information. This goes for year round, but this being tax season, really be on your guard," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman. "Scammers will come at you via emails, text messages, and on social media. They pretend to be from the IRS and know seemingly a lot about you. Remember, they find this information online, it's out there. Stand guard of your information."
Important steps to remember:
- Don’t give out your personal information, unless it is to an established, trusted entity.
- Look out for phony messages or websites claiming to be from the IRS or tax preparation services. These websites can look legitimate.
- Beware of promises offering “free money” from inflated refunds.
- Back up your data and store your electronic tax files securely.
- Only share personal information over a secured network.