The IRS has dubbed this “National Tax Security Awareness Week” in an effort to remind you to keep your personal information safe. Spokesman, Christopher Miller, says the end of the year is a problem time.
“We normally see scams spike during the holiday season — but we’re expecting it will be worse this year — because the crooks are finding new ways and new buzz words to attract new victims,” Miller says.
He says there are two new scam buzzwords in particular that should send you a warning. “COVID and stimulus payments. Which we know are unique words for these unique times,” according to Miller. “So we want people to watch out for criminals using new tactics. In fact — we know in Iowa alone just this year the Federal Trade Commission received more than two-thousand cases of fraud and ID theft related to just those two unique terms,” he says.
Miller says those types of fraud cost Iowans $1.8 million. “And more than 300 of those cases were related to online shopping. So, we know this continues to be a significant problem that isn’t going away — and we want people to be on the lookout,” Miller says.
Miller says scammers will try to send you files and links to open up that will infect your computer or try to get you to give up personal information. He says there is one thing you can know for certain.
“The IRS will not send unsolicited emails or text or social media posts asking for personal or financial information — that’s not the way the IRS does business. In fact, most legitimate companies will not ask for personal or financial information over email, text, or social media posts.”
He says you can get more information on what to look for and what to avoid at their website: IRS.gov.