Thinking about enjoying a nice vacation this summer? Don’t count on cybercriminals relaxing anytime soon. Even though the high-profile tax filing period is over, scammers and data thieves continue to ply their nefarious trade. That’s why it is important to remain vigilant at all times.
Here are some tips for keeping your personal data safe and secure, courtesy of the Internal Revenue Services (IRS):
- The IRS does not issue threats over the phone. The IRS seldom calls taxpayers, and never leaves pre-recorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In one common scam cited by the IRS, the victim is told if they do not call back a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other variations may include the threat of other law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation or revocation of licenses. The IRS will never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Cyber thieves may use a local telephone number. Criminals can fake or “spoof” caller ID to appear to be anywhere in the country, including an IRS office. This prevents taxpayers from being able to verify the true call number. If a taxpayer gets a call from the IRS, they should hang up and call the agency back at a publicly-available phone number.
- Scammers also use email threats. If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, they should report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some people might also receive an email from a program closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Recipients should also send these emails to email@example.com.
- The IRS generally uses the post office. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
There are very limited circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business. This includes situations when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill or when the IRS needs to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment. Otherwise you should be very wary of anyone contacting you via phone or email and claiming to represent the IRS.
Despite widespread efforts to reduce cybertheft, online and telephone scammers continue to pose a threat. For more information on securing your personal data, please contact our office at (781) 407-0300.