Marquette Bank is dedicated to helping you identify and avoid scams. The security of your personal information, data and accounts is important to us. We want to help you protect it.
Everyone’s favorite time of year – tax season – is creeping up on the calendar. Wednesday, April 15, may feel eons away, but the filing deadline will be here before you know it. Tax season is primetime for online scams. Help protect your identity and personal information from cybercriminals with these tips from our three part series!
SCAMS TARGETING TAXPAYERS
The IRS has a seen a surge in cybercriminal swindles directed at consumers. If you protect yourself against these unscrupulous schemes, your identity and tax return will be safer and more secure.
IRS-IMPERSONATION PHONE SCAMS
Callers claiming to be IRS employees – using fake names and phony IRS ID numbers – may ring you and insist that you owe money and it must be paid as soon as possible through a gift card or wire service. If the call is not picked up, the scammers often leave an emergency callback request message. The real IRS will not call you and demand immediate payment; in general, it will mail you a bill if you owe money.
MARKED INCREASE IN PHISHING, EMAIL AND MALWARE SCHEMES
Cybercriminals will try to get you to do something so they can steal your personal information. Watch out for unsolicited emails, text messages, social media posts or fake websites that may prompt you to click on a link or to share valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, online thieves can pilfer funds and/or commit identity theft. And unfamiliar links or attachments can contain malware – viruses, spyware and other unwanted software that gets installed on your computer or mobile device without your consent – which can infect your computer files if opened.
FRAUDULENT TAX RETURNS
The FTC strongly recommends trying to file your tax return as soon as possible. The IRS only accepts one tax return per Social Security number. If the file is yours and it’s in early, it becomes impossible for a fraudster to submit another return with your personal information. It’s also important to always use smart practices with your personal information. Remember to only share your Social Security number when it’s absolutely necessary. Check your credit report regularly for shady activity, and never throw papers with critical information – like your Social Security number or bank account information – in the trash. It’s best to shred all paper containing personal data.
TAX PREPARER FRAUD
The overwhelming majority of tax preparers provide honest services, but some unsavory individuals may target unsuspecting taxpayers and the result can be refund fraud and/or identity theft. The IRS reminds anyone filing a tax return that their preparer must sign it with their IRS preparer identification number.
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU STAY SAFE THIS TAX SEASON
Here are a few resources that can help you protect your identity and be safer and more secure online this tax season – and year-round:
What to Do if You Think You are a Victim?
- Contact your bank immediately and close the account, if you believe your account may be compromised. Watch for any unauthorized charges to your account. Consider reporting the attack to your local police department, and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission or the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Forward phishing emails to email@example.com – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email. You also may report phishing email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a group of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, uses these reports to fight phishing.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO HELP YOU STAY SAFE THIS TAX SEASON
Here are a few more resources that can help you protect your identity and be safer and more secure online this tax season – and year-round:
• STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Tips and Advice
• Identity Theft Resource Center
• The Federal Trade Commission’s IdentityTheft.gov
• The Internal Revenue Service’s Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts