Tax Season Is Open Season For Identity Theft

Have you received an email from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? If so, that email may be part of what’s known as a phishing scam. Phishing is when someone poses as a legitimate business or organization (like the IRS) and tries to obtain personally identifiable information from you. Why is an email from the IRS a warning sign of phishing? The IRS never communicate with taxpayers about specific tax returns via email.

With tax season in high swing, scam artists and identity thieves declare open season on trying to defraud you and the government of money. Scams have involved false tax returns using stolen information (thieves will steal forms like 1099s and W4s from mailboxes), to posing as government agencies to get that information, to even creating fake tax-preparation services.

identity thief

Photo Credit: Flickr/Glenn McKnight

How can you be sure your sensitive financial information is in the right hands? If the worst happens, what can you do to regain your identity? Susan Johnston at U.S. News & World Report explains in more detail the scams that are prevalent during tax season and what you can do to protect yourself and your identity.