Tax season is in full swing, and scammers are ever present! In honor of March being Fraud Prevention Month, we want to do our part to help protect you from falling victim to tax-related fraud. Stay safe with these strategies to protect yourself and your personal information!
BE WARY OF PHISHING SCAMS
Phishing scams are a common way for scammers to obtain sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, bank account information, and passwords. These scams can be initiated through email, text messages, or phone calls. Scammers may pose as the IRS, claiming that you owe taxes or are due a refund. They may also ask for personal information to verify your identity. To avoid falling victim to phishing scams, do not respond to unsolicited requests for information, and always verify the contactor’s legitimacy before providing any personal information.
SAFEGUARD YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Protecting your personal information is crucial in preventing tax fraud. Do not share your Social Security number, bank account information, or other sensitive information over email, text, or unsolicited phone calls. Documents such as past tax returns, tax documents, and others containing sensitive information should be stored in a safe and secure location. Any others you wish to throw away should be shredded or burned before disposal. Additionally, “strong” passwords should be set for online tax software and other accounts allowing access to personal and/or financial information. These passwords should be changed regularly without using the same one for multiple accounts.
FILE YOUR TAXES EARLY WITH DIRECT DEPOSIT
Filing your taxes early can help reduce the time period in which scammers can file a fraudulent tax return using your personal information. Filing early and choosing direct deposit can also increase the chances that your refund is processed quickly and securely into your checking account.
USE A SECURE WI-FI NETWORK WHEN FILING ONLINE
When filing your taxes online, use a secure Wi-Fi network. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks or networks that are not password-protected, as hackers can easily access them. Additionally, always ensure that your computer has up-to-date antivirus software installed to help prevent malware and other malicious software from infecting your computer.
MONITOR YOUR CREDIT REPORT REGULARLY
Regularly reviewing your credit report can help you identify any suspicious activity that may indicate tax fraud. Look for unfamiliar credit inquiries, new credit accounts you did not open, and inaccurate information on your credit report. If you suspect you have been a victim of tax fraud, report it immediately to the IRS and contact the credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
Should you fall victim to any scams, don’t hesitate to contact us at Lisle Savings Bank to ensure the protection of your accounts. We are here to help!