With just days until the U.S. Tax Day deadline, Norton released expert advice to help last-minute tax filers identify common scams and protect their information. With the increased pressure of last-minute filing, the best defense against cybercrime is knowledge and added protection.
“Cybercriminals count on people being busy, stressed or anxious during tax season so they can exploit their trust and lack of knowledge,” said Paige Hanson, chief of cyber safety education for NortonLifeLock. “Many people do not realize they are a victim of tax-related identity fraud until it is too late. A key way to protect yourself is to understand how the IRS works and to be aware of the different tax scams in use by cybercriminals.”
Norton has identified three common scams and ways to combat them that all taxpayers should be aware of, especially those who wait to the last moment to file.
Scammers File Taxes in Your Name
Unsuspecting consumers attempt to file only to find a scammer has already collected an income tax return with their stolen identity. Aside from filing early, Norton recommends strengthening identity protection by using an IP PIN from the IRS – a unique six-digit number that provides the IRS with additional information to verify identity. To get an IP PIN, register an online account with IRS.gov.
IRS Impersonation Schemes
Filing season creates prime opportunity for IRS impersonation schemes. Remember, the IRS will not email or call you without reaching out by mail first. Here scammers call taxpayers or use robocalls posing as IRS or Taxpayer Advocate Services representatives to persuade individuals to provide their Social Security number, bank account numbers, or other identifying information.
Phishing and W2 Scams
Norton observed several different types of tax-related phishing attacks that prey on the trust of taxpayers by imitating employers and even the IRS seeking tax forms and personal information. If you receive any request for sensitive data, Norton recommends verifying the identity of the requestor and going directly to an employer and the IRS for needed information.
Although all tax-related crimes are not preventable, you can minimize the impact of scams through some simple steps. If you are a last minute filer, keep track of your accounts by setting up notifications for suspicious transactions and enrolling in monthly credit reports to track potential criminal activity, adding an extra layer of security.
For additional safeguards, subscribing to protection services from Norton adds professional support that can help navigate complicated IRS and credit bureau actions designed to restore taxpayers’ lives and credit. To learn more about identity theft, visit the website.