This holiday season, don’t let criminals steal your money or your identity when you’re online.
The Rhode Island Division of Taxation, the Internal Revenue Service and other partners in the Security Summit have offered three ways to protect yourself from stolen identity refund fraud.
Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from phishing scams:
First, the most common way thieves steal your identity is simply by asking for it. Their favorite tactic is a phishing email. Phishing emails bait you into opening them. They pose as a trusted company - maybe your bank, a favorite retailer or your tax provider.
Second, learn to recognize and avoid them. The scams tell an urgent story – for example, they may claim that there’s a “problem with your account” – and they instruct the receiver to open an embedded link or download an attachment.
Third, don’t take the bait. The link may send you to a familiar website to login, but your username and password goes to the thieves. Or, the scam suggests you open an attachment, which secretly downloads malicious software. Either are bad news. Just hit “delete”.
Also keep in mind that neither the Rhode Island Division of Taxation nor the IRS calls taxpayers with demands of payment and threats of jail or a lawsuit. The Division of Taxation and the IRS do not make angry, threatening phone calls. And neither the Division of Taxation nor the IRS requests payment via gift cards or debit cards, such as iTunes cards.
The Security Summit consists of the IRS, state tax agencies, and the tax community, including tax preparation firms, tax software developers, payroll service providers, and others. Partners in the Security Summit work together to combat identity theft and fight other scams to protect the nation’s taxpayers.