How to Avoid Phishing Scams During Tax Season

February 01, 2016  By Tim Shannon

With tax season rapidly approaching, the opportunity for fraud and phishing attacks is ripe. Tax forms are now more easily accessible and sent through email and other systems, which gives criminals an opportunity to more readily access your personal information.

Phishing campaigns and spam are the most popular way for criminals to gain access. “We continue to see these aggressive tax scams across the country,” said John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner. “Scam artists specialize in being deceptive and fooling people. The IRS urges taxpayers to be extra cautious and think twice before answering suspicious phone calls, emails or letters.” 

 Use these tips to avoid being a victim to a hack this tax season:

  • Don’t reply to email with any personal information or passwords. If you have reason to believe that the request is real, call the institution or company directly.
  • Don’t click a link in an unsolicited email message. If you have reason to believe the request is real, type the web address for the company or institution directly into your web browser.
  • Don’t use the same password for your work account, bank, Facebook, etc. In the event you do fall victim to a phishing attempt, the thieves will try the compromised password in as many places as they can.
  • Do change ALL of your passwords if you suspect any account you have access to may be compromised.
  • Do be extra cautious when reading email on your phone. It may be easier to miss telltale signs of phishing attempts when reading the email on a smaller screen.

Unfortunately, these attacks are not going away. They are only getting increasingly more numerous and deceptive in scope. Vigilance and following these tips will help protect your information.

Tim Shannon
Manager, Information Security at Autotask

Tim has worked in the technology sector for more than 18 years spending the last 5 years focusing on information security. He manages and maintains processes, policies and technology that ensure our corporate and customer data remain safe while guaranteeing that Autotask keeps up with the constantly growing security demands.

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