Avoid the Hook of Phishing Scams This Tax Season

INDIANAPOLIS – Be alert and know the signs. The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) outlines two simple ways Hoosiers can be sure to avoid the hook of phishing scams this tax season.

Phishing scams are often in the form of unsuspected emails asking for personal or financial information. Many scammers take an even more aggressive approach and threaten individuals in an attempt to scare their way to obtaining funds.

Scammers may pose as a trusted bank, retail store, government agency or a tax professional to obtain personal information by telling the individual there is something wrong with their existing account or how they are in violation of a law.

“Hoosiers need to remain vigilant when asked for any type of personal information,” stated DOR Inspector General Dwaine Brinson.

“Phishing attempts often ramp up during tax season to get unsuspecting individuals to give up information to allow fraudsters the ability to steal tax refunds or other financial information. Fraudsters have gone as far as creating fake letters or emails appearing to be from an agency such as DOR, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or identifying themselves as law enforcement. When in doubt call DOR or the IRS directly.”

Several warning signs that may indicate a phishing scam include:

  • Asking customers to confirm personal and/or financial information.
  • Including links to questionable or suspicious websites, email addresses or attachments. Never click or open anything that does not come from a trusted source.
  • Poorly written or communicated messages.
  • Stating immediate action must be taken to avoid consequences.
  • Claiming to be from DOR or the IRS, asking for personal information when neither agency will ever ask for personal information via email.

Additionally, tax professionals, payroll offices and human resources staff should be on high-alert when asked for W-2 or banking information. Scammers often pose as employees and target these groups in search of personal information to file fraudulent returns.

If individuals receive any unexpected or suspicious correspondence appearing to be from DOR or the IRS, they can report it to:

Internal Revenue Service
Email: phishing@irs.gov
Phone: 1-800-829-1040

 Indiana Department of Revenue
Email: investigations@dor.in.gov
Phone: 317-232-2240, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST “If you already know your data has been compromised, remember the Federal Trade Commission’s website has information to help you determine your next steps at identitytheft.gov,” advised Brinson.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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