Guest Post: Go Phish! Scammers Target Taxpayers For Identity Theft

By Hank Schless, Senior Manager of Security Solutions at Lookout

Tax season is officially here and, similar to last year, there are so many unique situations to consider while filing. Receiving unemployment, the stimulus check, any donations you’ve made, and contract work should all be taken into consideration. Serving as your own accountant can be extremely taxing – especially for those who have never done so before. 

While making sure you have all the right forms is difficult enough, consumers now have to be wary of an array of phishing scams. In fact, Lookout, the leader in delivering integrated Security, Privacy, and Identity Theft Protection solutions, has discovered that on average, 50% of people will encounter a phishing link in a 3 month period – including scams associated with tax season . Luckily, Lookout has identified key scams consumers should be on guard against this year. 

Text Message Scams
Many of us receive text messages from scammers impersonating a variety of companies including the IRS. While this may seem legit, the IRS does not use text messages for personal tax issues nor do they send taxpayers messages on social media especially in regards to bills or refunds. 

Unemployment Fraud 
Be wary of unemployment or other benefit payments that were never applied for. There has been an increase in fraudulent unemployment claims using stolen identities to fraudulently collect benefits. If something inaccurate or fraudulent is received, immediately request a corrected form or report to state agencies.

Email Phishing Scams 
In the 2022 tax season, taxpayers may receive unsolicited emails that appear to be from the IRS or affiliated organizations. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. Contact by the IRS is typically in the form of regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. 

Phone Scams 
No matter how real they sound, the IRS does not leave pre-recorded, threatening or urgent messages. The messages may include threats of arrest, deportation, law enforcement intervention and more. Criminals can make caller ID numbers appear to be anywhere in the country including from an IRS office. 

Lookout helps protect your digital information at every level – from the device you hold, to the apps and online services you use and the networks you connect to. Lookout also continuously monitors the internet to ensure what matters to you the most – such as social security and credit card numbers – aren’t exposed. And if anything happens, Lookout’s team of experts and a $1 million identity theft insurance policy are here to back you up.

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