The number of tax frauds has just reached its apogee, and fraudsters will not miss any chance of making money from consumers, self-employed and small businesses. Unfortunately, the vision of potential returns can be so exciting that caution and common sense will be sidelined.
Many people file their tax returns online, and cybercriminals see it as an enormous opportunity to earn money through phishing. In the same tax period in 2021, U.S. tax authorities recorded a 400% increase in phishing incidents and malware , and this year the situation is no better.
An example is a recent scam where emails are sent threatening to initiate control. During this period of the year, a busy person may not think twice.
As cybercriminals are always looking for a way to make a financial profit, consumers and businesses need to know what to look for:
- phishing messages – impersonating known organizations, e.g. tax authorities, fraudsters send such messages in order to steal sensitive information,
- phone calls – criminals try to persuade recipients to provide important information over the phone, and then try to directly gain access to the victim’s account or send credible-looking phishing messages,
- applications – a deceptive application can access information without the user’s knowledge or consent.
By following these tips, you will increase your safety during this hot tax period:
- Give yourself more time to complete all the paperwork; this way you will reduce the risk of reacting in a hurry.
- Do not trust the advice on how to get a refund unless it comes from a professional or a trusted source – always double-check if in doubt.
- Don’t assume that a bank or government agency has access to your tax information, it usually isn’t. Even if the communication looks professional, take the time to go over the details of the case. When in doubt, contact a potential source of information using publicly available contact information (not the information available in the conversation).
- Use a secure connection when using the mobile application for filing tax returns. Install a mobile internet security product and update it regularly. In addition, check the permissions each app is requesting before accepting them.
- Do not click on attachments or links in messages that are suspicious or sent from people you don’t know.
- Don’t provide your credit card information on unknown or suspicious sites. This way you will reduce the risk of handing them over to cyber criminals. False pages can be prepared to appear as if they were genuine. It is best to enter the URL yourself and always check that the connection is secure – this is indicated by the abbreviation „https” at the beginning of the address bar.
- Install a security program on your device that has built-in fraud detection technologies.
The offices take away enough of our hard earned money. Let’s not let what’s left fall into the hands of cybercriminals.