Tax Season is SCAM Season.

IRS-taking-steps-to-try-to-protect-against-identity-theft-It is tax season again, not only are you being robbed of your hard earned money legally by the government, but also by  the ever present scums of the earth who are also on the hunt for easy prey.

In this day and age, when supposedly people communicate better and disseminate information at a faster rate, one would be hopeful that the knowledge of the scams by these creeps would be common sense, yet people still fall prey to even the most common of them.

Email Phising – It is easier for us to tell that it is a scam when the email reads, of a long lost relative that died and has left you an estate worth millions, or that a friend who was traveling in another country found himself in a desperate situation and is asking you to send him money; but when the email comes from the IRS asking for all of the company employees’ W2s during tax season,  some don’t even stop to think to verify the source before hinting the send button attached with all the personnel’s information.

Phone Call Phising – It does not just happen in emails, phising through official sounding call are prevalent as well.  We already do our best not to answer unknown or private numbers, that’s what voice mails are for. So when you hear a  message saying to dial a number because of an anomaly to your credit card or bank account has been detected and upon calling they would ask you to verify your identity by giving them your accounts and passwords. DON’T DO IT!  In fact do not even call back the given number.

Thieves will steal no matter what but let’s at least not make it too easy for them.

  1. Verify the Source – As with any information, verifying the source is fundamental.  Make a direct call to the bank, company or government office in question.  Research, do your due diligence.
  2. Shred – get a decent cross shredder and shred every paper work that needs to be thrown out.
  3. Pay Cash – As much as possible the only name that a vendor should know about you is the name on the bill.  (Benjamins can negotiate deals better)
  4. Walk your credit card to the cashier – When dining out, you do not know what happens to your credit card from your table to the cashier, go ahead and get those extra steps or pay cash.
  5. Shut up and take my money! – “would you like to join our rewards program?” , “if you sign up you get a 10% discount” , “give us your phone number so we can let you know of promos” , what they are really saying is “give me your information Fool!” ala Mr. T

Sadly as much as we take precautions protecting our own information, it is that one employee of a company, a dentist office, a chiropractor, your own HR department and so on, who did not give a damn or pay attention that may screw us up.