Four tips to ensure your security

Pretending to be an IRS agent is one of the favorite tactics of scam artists, according to the Better Business Bureau. The con artists impersonate the IRS to either intimidate people into making payments over the phone, or to send misleading emails tricking people into sharing personal information digitally.

You can defend yourself against these scammers by knowing these simple rules:

Tip 1: Expect a letter first

In almost every case, the IRS will send you a letter via standard mail if they need to get in touch with you. This will alert you to expect future communication from the agency and instruct you on the best ways to get in touch with them.

What to do: If you get a letter from the IRS that is unexpected or suspicious, it should have a form or notice number searchable on the IRS website, www.irs.gov. If something doesn’t look right, you can call the IRS help desk at 1-800-829-1040 to question it.

Tip 2: Never over email

The IRS will never initiate contact with you using email. A common scammer trick is to send emails to taxpayers using accounts and graphics that imitate the agency’s logo. These emails may threaten imprisonment or fines if you don’t pay up, or promise an extra refund if you send money to “prepay” your taxes. Often the emails contain links to an official-looking fake website to collect payments. Clicking on them may also trigger the installation of virus programs on your computer.

What to do: Don’t…

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