Authorities are warning consumers and tax professionals to be alert for scams and identity theft schemes by criminals who may take advantage of the holiday shopping season, approaching tax season and the COVID-19 pandemic. The state Treasury Department has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service and taxing agencies in other states to provide tips on the basic safeguards everyone should follow.
The treasury department is reminding people to use security software for computers and mobile phones and keep it updated. They also state that phishing scams, such as imposter emails and texts, are the No. 1 way scammers steal personal data and stress not open links or attachments that are part of suspicious emails. Since phones are used for shopping and even for doing taxes, remember to make sure phones and tablets are just as secure as computers. According to the IRS, "Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals. The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information." Identity thieves have evolved and continue to find ways to trick unsuspecting consumers into clicking on links that download keylogging malware onto their device. It's important now more than ever to safeguard your personal information with an identity theft protection plan that protects your keystrokes.