CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - This is the time of year you rejoice or dread. It depends whether you owe the IRS or you get a refund.
The tax deadline is fast approaching and this year tax experts say they're seeing even more cases of taxpayers becoming the target of fraudsters.
We asked WBTV's cyber expert of Fortalice Solutions what's behind the spike and she offered a few suggestions and advice. That information follows:
What is fueling the tax fraud?
(1) all those breaches that you heard about last year? That treasure trove of data is feeding the fraudsters and giving them the info they need to file claims in your name; and (2) the fraudsters have better techniques at their fingertips to pretend they are the IRS
1. A phone call saying they found errors in past tax returns and that if you don't pay money, you will go to jail
2. An email saying they found an error processing your return and you need to click on the email and provide information
HOW TO AVOID BECOMING A VICTIM:
1. The IRS will NEVER call your home to make a threat of jail time - they will send paper mail to your home
2. The IRS will NEVER email you demanding information
3. If you have been a victim of past breaches last year, check your return carefully before you mail it in; if you file electronically, consider creating a new email to use for that sole purpose.
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM:
File a report with your local police.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 or TTY 1-866-653-4261.
Contact all of the three major credit bureaus to place a 'fraud alert' on your credit records:
Consider looking into identity protection services such as LifeLock or IDTheft911
IRS Fraud Prevention Tips: