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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) kicked off their annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ campaign this month to warn taxpayers about twelve of the most prevalent tax-related scams. Topping the list this year is pervasive phishing scams.
Phishing scams are fake – but often convincing – emails, text messages, websites and social media attempts to steal personal information, which tend to increase during tax season.
Each year, criminals come up with new and creative ploys to victimize taxpayers. One such scheme this year involves criminals stealing personal data and filing fraudulent tax returns, then using taxpayers’ bank accounts to direct deposit tax refunds. The thieves then use various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayer, including falsely claiming to be from a collection agency or the IRS.
More advanced phishing schemes may even target personal or financial information available in the files of businesses and their payroll and human resources personnel. In this scenario, criminals may pose as a business requesting a fake invoice payment, an employee looking to re-route a direct deposit, or an executive wishing to initiate a wire transfer. The criminals will then use the email credentials from a successful attack to send phishing emails to the victim’s email contacts – escalating the potential reach and damage of an attack.
Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself against phishing scams this tax season:
For more information on ways to prevent you or your business from becoming a cybercrime victim, contact Doeren Mayhew’s cybersecurity advisors today.
This publication is distributed for informational purposes only, with the understanding that Doeren Mayhew is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional opinions on specific facts for matters, and, accordingly, assumes no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Should the reader have any questions regarding any of the news articles, it is recommended that a Doeren Mayhew representative be contacted.
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