To accommodate taxpayers during the COVID-19 crisis, the IRS has extended its federal filing deadline to Wednesday, July 15. This additional time equates to an extended window for cybercriminals to steal your data.
The IRS recently reported a surge in tax scams targeting individuals, businesses, payroll and human resources, and even professional tax preparers. Many of these scams are phishing attacks — emails designed to trick you into releasing sensitive data; additional phishing attacks occur in phone calls, texts and instant messages.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid tax-return fraud and tax-related identity theft:
- File your taxes ASAP
Even with the deadline extension, the IRS is urging taxpayers to file as soon as possible. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get your refund, and filing sooner than later will help protect your tax information from ransomware attacks.
- Follow all NC State procedures to secure your mobile devices
Malicious hackers are targeting mobile devices, especially now that most of us are working from home. Visit Mobile Security at NC State for details on how to secure Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows 10 mobile devices.
- Don’t pay fees for Economic Impact Payments
The IRS is direct-depositing Economic Impact Payments into the bank accounts indicated on either the 2018 or 2019 tax returns of eligible taxpayers. If you have not received your payment, be aware that scammers, posing as the IRS, may contact you and try to trick you into paying a fee before your payment can be issued. No fee is required, so don’t fall for this scam.
- Be careful when sharing sensitive data
COVID-19 scammers will try to steal your information as well as your stimulus payment. Always remember that the IRS will never call, email or text you to verify or request information.Know who you are communicating with before handing over sensitive or personally identifying information such as your Social Security Number (SSN), bank account number, name, or passwords. The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media.The IRS initiates most contact through regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. For details, visit:
- Stay informed
Pay attention to updated news articles and alerts such as the IRS Tax Scams / Consumer Alerts, which forewarns of the new, sophisticated and creative ways that hackers try to trick you into revealing information. Some of the new tactics may surprise you; forewarned is forearmed.
- Protect tax documents
Protect your electronic tax documents by password-protecting them.
- Get an Identity Protection PIN
North Carolina is one of the states involved in the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) program. The IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to taxpayers to prevent anyone else from filing a tax return with your SSN.
For additional security information, visit: