Even though April 15 is still some time away, tax season has officially begun. If you're one of the lucky ones expecting a refund this year, you probably want to file as soon as possible, and filing online guarantees a quicker payday... unless someone else has already filed for your refund using your identity.
It happens more often than you think. There are many ways internet thieves can get your personal information, but the Internal Revenue Service has issued a “dirty dozen” list that may help you avoid these scams.
According to the Center for Internet Security's website1, there are three big scams that keep reappearing. The first, phishing or malware schemes, are easier to spot than you'd think. If you receive an email that purports to be from the IRS or state government or even financial institutions, they will ask you to click a link that takes you to their website. They're hoping they'll trick you into logging in with your personal information, such as Social Security number, bank account, birthday, and so on. Or, they may simply download malware into your system that will steal this information the next time you use it on a legitimate site.