Scammers working overtime amid tax season: What to know

People urged to be cautious of communication from IRS , which could be fake

Tax season is upon us, and scammers are on the prowl, looking to steal your personal information and your money. Here's what to look out for.

Tax season is here and, before you know it, the deadline will be upon us -- and the scammers know it, too.

That’s why we want to share important information about how thieves are trying to trick you as you work to file your taxes right now.

High-tech thieves are working overtime during tax season in an effort to steal your personal information. Scammers know that people are online and may be exchanging and receiving personal information in connection with tax filings, and they want to intercept that information and steal your identity.

Related: Tips for avoiding tax-related scams as filing begins

Experts urge consumers to beware emails, phone calls or text messages received from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If the organization wants to communicate with you, they will almost always send a certified letter only -- they will not call you.

The Better Business Bureau says that people should always be suspicious of any communication received from a stranger.

“Either, one: they’re going to ask you for your personal information; or two: that link is going to contain malware that is then downloaded to your device, and then your device is compromised,” said Laura Blankenship with the BBB. “Anything on your device, such as passwords, bank account information (is also compromised). You have to be very, very careful whenever you’re clicking links.”

Experts say that scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated, and that’s why officials are working to track them down ... and warn consumers about them.

The IRS is encouraging people to file their taxes early, and to be aware of any phone calls received. Scammers may call people, especially the elderly, and pretend to be the IRS and request personal information -- but that’s not how it works.

Officials say that the IRS will contact individuals by official letter or in person by coming to your home, where they will show you their official identification.

Click here to learn more about tax scams from the IRS.


About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.