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. University IT advises you to monitor your online accounts and bank statements regularly 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. If you receive suspicious phone calls, emails, or 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?

Have you received an email from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Does it contain links to create a temporary or one-time password to submit your refund? It’s a scam, warns University IT. The IRS will never 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 Medical Center at risk of a cyberattack if you engage with phishy emails. Visit the IRS website for more information 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 Better Business Bureau warns taxpayers to choose a preparer wisely and provides six tips to stay safe during the tax season. 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 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, University IT emphasizes the importance of remaining vigilant as the tax season wraps up as scammers will claim an issue with your return and urge you to take action. Avoid suspicious emails with attachments, links, calls, or texts requesting social security numbers, banking accounts, or other forms of personal identification. Changing your password is a great way to protect your identity. Those who receive suspicious emails should forward them to phishing@irs.gov.