Protect your identity from tax scams
Whether consumers have already filed taxes or are in the process of doing so, now is the time to protect against tax scams. Better Business Bureau advises consumers to beware of any strange electronic communications about taxes or refunds that appear to come from the Internal Revenue Service.
Identity thieves will impersonate the IRS to “phish” for personal and private information by using technology to their advantage. The emails may state there is a problem with a refund and that confirmation of personal or financial information is required to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, once a consumer verifies the personal information or clicks on a link, which leads to a fake website asking for more information, they are at risk.
BBB offers the following tips on how consumers can prevent falling for a tax scam email and becoming a victim of identity theft:
• Be wary of emails, phone calls or text messages that claim to be from the IRS. If the IRS needs to contact you, it will generally do so through mail. Consumers who receive unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization with a similar name, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, should report it immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Contact the IRS directly to verify additional correspondence by locating the nearest local office on irs.gov. There are 12 IRS offices throughout Arizona.
• Do not provide any personal information, click on links or open any attachments if it appears to be a phishing email from the IRS.
• Start with trust by selecting a trustworthy tax preparer at SearchBBB.org. Ensure the person helping you file your taxes has a Tax Preparer Identification Number (TPIN). Selecting a reputable tax preparer will help protect your personal information from third parties.
“During tax season, scam artists target taxpayers by sending out emails intending to pose as the IRS,” said Matthew Fehling, BBB president/CEO. “It is also important to choose a trustworthy tax preparer you can trust and have access to your personal information.”
For more consumer tips you can trust, visit BBB's News Center at www.arizonabbb.org.
Better Business Bureau has a Yuma office at 350 W. 16th St., Suite 205. Yuma County director Janet Torricellas can be reached at 919-7940 or email@example.com.