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Tax-Related Scams Increase as 2020 Tax Season Approaches

As tax season approaches, scammers have begun their rounds of tax-related scams in an attempt to steal information. Documented below are some of the more popular scams that have been seen in the past. The first one involves scammers posing as tech support. Fake websites will be created and include a number for tech support, but when users call it will be a scammer who is trying to get remote access to their computer. Similar to the tech support method, scammers have also posed as tax preparers, offering bigger returns and telling customers they are eligible for credits. Criminals have also targeted HR departments at companies, posing as the CEO or other people in authority to request copies of tax forms for employees.  Malware attacks that look like tax software updates are very common during this time as well. Attackers will promote fake tax-related domains that direct visitors to download malware disguised as software updates. As previously mentioned, these are just a few of the many scams that will be seen in this tax season. There are warning signs that users can keep an eye out for in order to stay safe from these tricks.

Analyst Notes

If someone claiming to be from the IRS makes asks for the last four digits of a Social Security Number, financial PIN or account numbers, do not provide this information. If immediate payment or payment with a gift card is requested to pay tax debts, it is certainly a scam. The IRS never contacts taxpayers to ask for payment over the phone or with gift cards. Employees in HR should not send tax forms by email, but confirm any request for tax forms in person or over the phone. Only download tax preparation software directly from the tax service provider’s website, not from any links received by email.