Adam Levin, a consumer advocate with more than 30 years of experience warns that tax season can be fraud season. The cybersecurity expert said that “hackers and scammers are, looking to prey on consumers to steal their hard earned refund” and personal data. Levin offered the following tips to protect your identity and finances:
Always use long and strong passwords.
Never authenticate yourself to anyone who contacts you online or by phone; the IRS will never contact you by those methods. Be on high alert for IRS scams. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS demanding payment, hang up. These scammers can spoof phone numbers, but don’t take the bait. The IRS never calls, emails or texts. This is an IRS imposter scam.
Use direct deposit of refunds into your bank account or a locking mailbox for mailed refunds.
Monitor and protect your accounts and elements of your personal identity online and in social media. It’s easy for hackers to figure out answers to security questions from social media.
Don’t overshare on social media. You leave digital breadcrumbs that a scammer can use to answer security questions, or brute force their way into accessing your login credentials.
When answering security questions, lie! It’s not about veracity, it’s about consistency. This makes you a harder target for hackers who may glean this info from social media.