Don’t take the bait: here’s how taxpayers can avoid getting caught by a phishing scam
Data thieves don’t take a break during the holidays. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service warns taxpayers that the agency is seeing a large increase in bogus email schemes that seek to steal money or tax data.
The most common way for cybercriminals to steal money, bank account information, passwords, credit cards and Social Security numbers is to simply ask for them. Every day, people fall victim to phishing scams or phone scams that cost them their time and their cash.
Here are a few steps taxpayers can take to protect against phishing and other email scams. When reading emails, people should:
• Be vigilant and skeptical. Never open a link or attachment from an unknown or suspicious source. Even if the email is from a known source, the recipient should approach with caution. Cybercrooks are good at acting like trusted businesses, friends and family. This even includes the IRS and others in the tax business.
• Double check the email address. Thieves may have compromised a friend’s email address. They might also be spoofing the address with a slight change in text. For example, using firstname.lastname@example.org, instead of email@example.com. Merely changing the “m” to an “r” and “n” can trick people.
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Dec. 6, 2018 issue.
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