How monitoring your online accounts could save your tax refund

With tax season underway, malicious actors are targeting taxpayers by claiming discrepancies with their account information. These scammers use fear tactics to swindle you into making rash decisions and handing over financial info. Be sure to monitor your online accounts and bank statements on a regular basis and be cautious of how tax information is shared. If you’re contacted, ask yourself: are you using a tax professional? Are you sharing sensitive data with them over a secured network? Any stolen tax information could compromise your refund and identity. Should you receive any suspicious phone calls, emails, text messages, or notice errors related to your bank accounts, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately through their verified contact information.


Are You Being Contacted by the IRS or an Imposter?

Got an email from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Do they contain links to create a temporary or one-time password to submit your refund? It’s a scam! The IRS will ever begin contact through email, text messages or social media channels and they won’t demand immediate payment or request personal or financial information. Be aware that messages are circulating claiming to have pertinent information about a taxpayer’s refund, electronic return or tax account, and contain links to an IRS.gov-like website. Never click any links or provide information – you open the door to compromise your computer and invite malicious malware. Furthermore, you could potentially put the University or URMC at risk of a cyberattack if you engage with phishy emails. Visit the IRS Website for more info and how to report suspicious IRS-related scams.


Getting ‘Ghosted’ by a Tax Preparer will haunt you

Still looking for someone to file your return? The IRS warns taxpayers to choose a preparer wisely and provide a few red flags to look out for, how to ensure you’re using a verified professional and how to report preparer misconduct. Malicious actors are looking to make a quick profit by falsely identifying themselves as tax professionals and promising big returns. Also known as Ghost Preparers, these scammers fake your income and deductions to boost the size of your refund but never sign off as the preparer. To make matters worse, they direct refunds straight to their account instead of yours.


Prepare yourself for last-minute tax scams

Cybercriminals posing as the IRS or tax preparers will go to great lengths to steal your information and reroute your refund destination. Even if you’ve already filed your taxes, it’s important to remain vigilant as the tax season wraps up as scammers will claim an issue with your return and urge you to take action. Avoid any suspicious emails with attachments, links, calls or texts requesting social security numbers, banking accounts or any other forms of personal identification. As always, changing your password is a great way to protect your identity. Those who receive suspicious emails should forward them to phishing@irs.gov.