The week taxes are due is prime time for people looking to scheme and steal from unsuspecting consumers. According to a recent study, complaints to the Federal Trade Commission ramp up around tax time and consumers are still being duped.
The phone and computer are being used by “IRS impostors” to gain access to personal information.
“They clearly work because they keep coming back every year,” says PCMAG Security Reporter Michael Kan.
Kan says every year around tax day emails carrying malware are sent to consumers.
This year he says companies have discovered scammers are pretending to send emails from well-known payroll and HR Firms.
“If your computer does become infected with it, the hacker can basically take control of the whole computer. They’ll likely try to steal your banking log-in credentials,” Kan said.
Emails are not the only method being used. Robocall scams are ramping up as well, according to complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission.
“Because it is tax time and everyone is thinking about their taxes and the scammers take advantage of that,” says Guy Ward with the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC says the number of complaints about robocall scams shoot up every April.
A recent study by AllAreaCodes.com analyzed 15 million consumer complaints released by the FTC over the last three years.
Florida ranks as the 10th most “At-Risk” state with 2,037 complaints per 100,000 people.
Of the top 100 counties considered at risk, Palm Beach County ranked 7th, Broward County ranked 27th, and Miami-Dade County ranked 89th.
The study shows phone scams will peak starting from April 1st thru April 21st.
“The IRS will not call you out of the blue about your taxes. If they are going to get in touch with you their first contact is going to be by mail,” said Ward.
When it comes to IRS impostor phone calls, the FTC warns that the IRS will not you and ask you to pay money over the phone using a debit card, cashier’s check, or wire transfer. That’s a sign you may want to hang up.
Also, be cautious of downloading attachments. If you don’t recognize the company sending the email try calling the company directly to verify.