Make sure your friends, family and co-workers know to be skeptical of any unexpected calls or emails regarding tax their tax filings, to avoid being scammed.
Fear of being penalized is often an effective emotional trigger used by attackers. But you should double-check any claims by people trying to convince you that there is a problem with your tax account, or that there is something you need to act on urgently to ensure you aren’t penalized.
One thing that can help ensure you have the correct information, to avoid being scammed, is to register your tax account online, where you can verify if there are any official notifications about your account status.
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You can easily go online to find out how to do this at the official IRS site in the USA, or the CRA website in Canada.
Any person calling or emailing you who claims to be from an authority such as the tax department should never ask you for any personal information or banking information when they call you. They often use the trick of leaving a reference file number and a phone number to call. Don’t trust a number given to you by somebody who calls you.
Ideally, if an authority calls you, they should simply ask you to use the officially published contact facilities (i.e. phone or website) to discuss any outstanding issues. It’s up to you to find the trusted, published contact information, where you can authenticate yourself properly, to confirm your account information.
Scott Wright is CEO of Click Armor, the gamified simulation platform that helps businesses avoid breaches by engaging employees to improve their proficiency in making decisions for cyber security risk and corporate compliance. He has over 20 years of cyber security coaching experience and was creator of the Honey Stick Project for Smartphones as a demonstration in measuring human vulnerabilities.