The government shutdown could still continue to affect the lives of citizens, especially during this tax season. Experts have warned that this year could be terrible for tax fraud and scams as the IRS is stuck playing catch up. As a result, thieves will gain a number of new opportunities where they can attempt to scam innocent Americans.
In fact, even before the shutdown, the IRS had issued warnings concerning tax scams, and in the aftermath, it is sure to be worse than they ever imagined. As a result, it is vital that you begin taking precautions to protect your financial health. Especially in this digital age, you should proactively work to maintain the security of your bank records and money.
One significant way in which you can begin preventing tax scams is by both updating your passwords as well as your cybersecurity frequently. Although it may seem tough to remember a long chain of letters and numbers in a strong password, most scammers will attempt to access your records through the weakest link in the chain; this is often passwords. By taking the small step of mixing up numbers and letters as well as using different passwords, you can fight back against these scheming thieves.
Similarly, you should check to ensure that your personal information is not easily accessible online and that you have updated your computers to the latest software capabilities. Especially during the next several months, you should be careful of where you post personal information as scammers can use this to gain access to your accounts.
Next, although scammers may do their best to convince you, the IRS will never simply call you. IRS employees will also not email you. Instead, they always send government-sealed paperwork which you can easily discern as official. Additionally, you should never click on fishy-links in emails that purport to be from the government as this is one of the primary ways in which scammers can gain access to your computer.
Finally, if you file your taxes early, you will get refunds quicker and have your paperwork processed swiftly. As a result, most scammers will not target you. With your tax refund in hand, it becomes nearly impossible for scammers to steal it.
Scammers are inventive individuals, so you should always be wary if something feels too good to be true. Never be afraid of hanging up the phone!
Overall, this small amount of proactive vigilance is invaluable in protecting you from the nightmares of a tax scam.