With tax season upon us, we’re starting to get reports of people receiving phishing emails purportedly from the IRS. It’s important to keep an eye out for these, know how to identify them, learn to avoid them and, if possible, filter them out entirely.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a type of scam where an attacker sends unsolicited mass emails (spam) that appear to be from a legitimate business or organization. Typically, the email will claim that some piece of personal information is missing, you need to provide information in an on-line form, or something like that. You click the link, fill out the form and the next thing you know, you’re identity is stolen.
For these IRS phishing scams, the scammers are typically looking for things like your IRS account number or social security number. Other types of phishing attacks may ask for your username and password for your on-line banking account or even your Amazon password. Sometimes phishing emails will say your shipment is being held up and you need to re-enter your credit card information.
Avoid IRS Phishing Scams
Identifying a phishing scam can be difficult with some of the sophisticated techniques scammers use today, but when it comes to the IRS, it’s pretty straightforward. The IRS will simply never send you an unsolicited email requesting personal information.
If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, or claims to have information about lottery winnings, large investments or inheritance, follow these steps…
- Do not reply to the email
- Do not open any attachment
- Do not click on any links
- Forward the email as-is to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delete the email
There are also spam filtering technologies that can be deployed to help filter out spam, like phishing scams. A SonicWall firewall is one of our go-to technologies for stopping spam, but there are other solutions as well. Call 866-793-8232 or request to Talk to an Expert to learn more.
Scammers Also Use Phones
One las thing to keep in mind. These types of scammers also use unsolicited phone calls. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS requesting personal information, follow these steps…
- Ask for the caller’s name, badge number and call back number
- Call 1-800-366-4484 with that information to determine if the caller is actually an IRS employee
- If you determine they are legitimate, then call them back
- Do not give anyone claiming to be with the IRS any personal information until your have verified they are an IRS employee