With the tax deadline approaching, fraudsters and phishers are increasingly taking aim at unsuspecting Alaskans. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington warns filers about one of the most common tax phishing schemes: scammers sending bogus emails to dupe people into revealing private information.
The Internal Revenue Service says that 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.
- Include hyperlinks that redirect to scam websites with fake forms or harmful computer viruses.
- Contain malicious attachments.
Watch for red flags when analyzing correspondence:
Unsolicited Requests: The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media.
Used Logos: Scammers regularly hijack company logos or agency seals to appear official; be skeptical of distorted or discolored images.
Unusual Language: Phishers are more likely to use unorthodox grammar and spelling; keep an eye out for obvious mistakes.
Unknown Links: Fraudsters enclose hyperlinks with coded Web addresses, which usually lead to dangerous sites.
Unexpected Attachments: Financial institutions will not send attachments unless it’s for specific requests.