Beware of tax scams

It’s tax season in the United States, which means it’s time for us to remind you about tax scams—especially email messages that appear to come from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another legitimate organization.

These seemingly valid offers are designed to trick you into turning over your personal information or to click on links or attachments that will automatically download malicious software to your computer. The most common tax scams we’ve seen include:

  • Fraudulent links to get your refund
  • Free tax preparation or tax preparation software
  • Promises to get you out of paying your taxes

To help avoid tax scams

"The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or any social media tools to request personal or financial information."
          - IRS, http://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing

Use antivirus software. Make sure your home computer has antivirus software installed and it’s virus signatures are updated.

Use email software with built-in spam filtering. Most large webmail services (Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com, Yahoo, AOL) have spam filtering built in which will block most tax scams from ever reaching your Inbox. If you use Outlook (the Microsoft Office program, not webmail) or Thunderbird, make sure their built in spam filtering features are enabled (see RESOURCES below).

RESOURCES
IRS info about tax scams
Outlook spam filter
Thunderbird spam filter
IRS’s Top 10 Tax Scams for 2012