Tax crimes often rise this time of year, when cybercriminals try to steal taxpayers’ information and refunds.
To protect yourself, the CyberSafe at USPS team offers these tips:
• Think before you click. Beware of emails that claim to be from the IRS and contain links or attachments. Cybercriminals may try to install malware on your computer to steal your information.
• Use strong passwords. If you file your taxes online, protect your information by using a password that contains uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
• Verify sites’ authenticity. Scammers sometimes create sites with URLs that are similar to authentic tax filing sites. Differently spelled brand names or “government” sites that use .com rather than .gov can be telltale signs of a trap.
• Use secure connections. Criminals can use public Wi-Fi or weak networks to intercept information.
• Verify requests. The IRS will never ask for credit or debit card information, demand immediate payment or threaten legal action in a cold call.
• File early. Criminals can file fraudulent tax returns using stolen personal information. One of the best defenses is to file before they have the chance.
If you believe you have become a victim of tax fraud in any form, contact the IRS.