Tax season phishing and what you should know

PhishingWith it being tax season, some of the biggest online threats to keep an eye out for are those in the form of spam emails appearing to be from the IRS. While you’ve most likely seen the news reports regarding phone scams as well as reports of identity theft during tax time, scammers take full advantage of phishing attacks. The IRS has named phishing attacks as one of their “dirty dozen” of tax scams for the 2015 season.

These phishing attacks will appear to have official-looking subject lines that will attempt to get the recipient to open the email. The Security Skeptic cites these tactics as preying on the victims fear or uncertainty (tax error or delinquency), as well as greed (exemption notices).

Be wary of these emails. Do not open emails claiming to be from the IRS that you aren’t expecting, and especially don’t click on any links or attachments in those emails. If you get as far as opening a questionable email and opening a link within it, steer clear of any website that has an IRS look with forms asking you to provide personal information. This should be the huge red flag signaling you that this is an attempt to scam you.

If you encounter such emails, you are urged to report them to the IRS (which you can do by going to this website: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing). Recognizing these attacks is the first step in protecting yourself, but reporting them helps the larger fight against the criminals that continually try to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals.