Tax scams are in full swing. Here’s how to protect yourself


Tax season is in full swing — and that means it’s hunting time for scam artists hoping to rip off taxpayers.

The Internal Revenue Service expects to receive around 150 million tax returns during this filing period, which began Jan. 27 and runs through April 15.Americans need to remain vigilant to guard against tax fraud, which picks up around this time of year as crooks prey on taxpayers’ anxiety and urgency to file their returns, experts said.

“Attackers will target people when they know there is a topic or some relevance they can attach to. That’s how they establish trust or credibility,” said Tim Sadler, the CEO and co-founder of Tessian, an e-mail security company. “Everybody knows it’s tax-filing season now.”

Taxpayers lose a substantial amount of money each year to tax scams.

The IRS identified $1.8 billion of total tax fraud during the government’s most recent fiscal year. That encompasses all types of fraud, including some of the most prevalent scams targeting individual taxpayers, such as phone scams, fraudulent tax returns and identity theft.

The good news is that data suggest some hoaxes are declining in prevalence due to stepped-up security efforts from the IRS. But that doesn’t mean criminals are sitting by idly…Read more>>