Protect Your Finances This Tax-Filing Season

Identity theft and tax fraud increase during the filing season

Protect Your Finances This Tax-Filing Season
December 14, 2016

Experts have warned that Americans need to remain vigilant once the tax-filing season starts. It is an active time of year for scammers, who will be out to steal your personal data and hard-earned cash.

As soon as the New Year begins, many people will start thinking about filing their taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says that consumers is running a campaign to increase awareness of potential threats, pointing out that proactive criminals can file fraudulent tax returns, even before the earliest workers get to filing.

One thing the IRS is particularly concerned about is phishing scams. These are often sent to people in the form of texts, phone calls, or emails, and attempt to trick consumers into revealing their personal details. This sensitive data can then be used to file fraudulent returns or to commit other crimes. In other cases, criminals try to lure people into sharing their bank details by pretending their tax refunds are ready to be deposited.

During the 2015 tax filing season earlier this year, the IRS noted a 400 percent surge in malware and phishing tax-related crimes. Generally, the agency will mail consumers who owe money, so Bell warns that it is important to be cautious when unexpected texts, emails, or phone calls are received. This can help people avoid being conned out of money in the post-Christmas period and ensure that their 2017 gets off on the right foot.

If you would like to prevent identity theft, join MoneyTips and check out our Identity Protector tool.

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