With the tax deadline approaching, fraudsters and phishers are increasingly taking aim at unsuspecting consumers. The Better Business Bureau is warning filers about the most common tax phishing schemes.
Scammers often masquerade as legitimate tax preparers or government agents promising unbelievable refunds or claiming problems with tax returns. Phishing emails ask for replies to "verify" personal information they include hyperlinks that redirect to scam websites with fake forms or harmful computer viruses or in some cases contain malicious attachments.
Watch for red flags when analyzing correspondence:
- The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media.
- Scammers regularly hijack company logos or agency seals to appear official; be skeptical of distorted or discolored images.
- Phishers are more likely to use unorthodox grammar and spelling; keep an eye out for obvious mistakes.
- Fraudsters enclose hyperlinks with coded Web addresses, which usually lead to dangerous sites.
- Financial institutions will not send attachments unless it's for specific requests.