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Tax Time

February 27, 2019

Tax season is just about here again, and that brings a whole host of stressful things to keep in mind. One thing you might not realize is that you need to be wary of security concerns, outside of the already difficult process of filing your taxes. Stolen data and identities abound during tax season, so take these steps to avoid becoming part of the trend.

  • The IRS will never call you and ask for payment, so if someone says they’re from the IRS and need payment or else you will get arrested, just know that it’s 100 percent fake. The IRS typically sends a physical bill with taxes owed, and its agents don’t threaten arrest or ask for payment over the phone.

  • A newer scam puts a spin on these phone calls by using numbers that mimic the IRS number template and direct taxpayers to verify the number is coming from a legitimate source using the irs.gov website. Again, though, the IRS will never ask for payment over the phone, which these scammers still tend to do.

  • Phishing and email malware scams are never ending, but the IRS has identified some specific tactics being used currently. Generally, as with the telephone, phishing emails pose as IRS officials or tax professionals. They won’t ask for information about refunds, filing status, personal information, ordering transcripts or your PIN. These phishing attempts may also come in the form of text messages, which link out to sites that instantly place malware on your computer. Just be wary of the correspondence about your tax information, and double check the email address to verify the legitimacy of the sender.

  • Specifically of interest to the ASU community, a scam involving a “Federal Student Tax” takes advantage of uncertain students who are new to filing taxes; in fact, no such tax exists.

These are just a few of the multitude of scams that circulate during tax time, but you can keep up with updates using the IRS’ official site. Generally, exercise common sense and realize that any “IRS official” that tries to extract payment or some action from you immediately via phone or email is likely illegitimate. To report tax scams to the IRS, call 800-366-4484.

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