Scammed and Confused: A New Twist on Tax Scams

The emergence of e-commerce is also seeing a proliferation of digital scams, from schemes that target your online banking app to cons aimed at hijacking your tax return. What can consumers do to stay safe while still availing themselves of powerful online services?

A lot, really – if you’re willing to stop and think, and take all the necessary precautions you can. Security – whether personal or organizational – is a continuous process, not an outcome, and it requires a level of vigilance to stay ahead of the latest attack strategies.

Recently, the IRS shared a surprising but effective new way some tax return scams are being executed: Attackers are using taxpayers’ stolen identity information to fraudulently file otherwise valid tax returns that are due to receive a refund.

They allow that refund to direct deposit into the victim’s actual bank account, then the scammers – posing as the IRS – call the victim, demanding that they return what they purport to be “wrongfully allocated refunds.”

Since the victim presumably hasn’t yet filed their taxes, it’s easy for them to assume a mistake was made, so they are likely to comply with the demand and are subsequently tricked into sending their valid refund to the attacker.

Tips to Avoid Tax Scams

So, what can consumers do to lessen the likelihood they may fall victim to such a scam? Here are a few tips that should help reduce the risk you might be successfully targeted is such a scheme:

  • File your return as early as possible – duplicate fillings typically get denied by the IRS. Also, if you file electronically, you can usually track the progress of your filing and the status of your return online, and receive automatic updates on the process.
  • Check your credit reports, bank statements, and (Read more...)

This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog post authored by Malcolm Harkins. Read the original post at: Cylance Blog