Scams are everywhere. In hard times, they seem to be especially prevalent, and scams don’t exclude taxes. First of all, email is one of the easiest ways to fall for a scam. The IRS released a recent disclaimer to avoid unsolicited emails about electronic federal tax payments.
These scam emails include references to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). The most recent email claims that tax payments made through this system have been rejected.
Then, the email has a link for those that believe they have not paid yet. There is a falsified transaction report in the link. Once it has been clicked on, a virus will be downloaded onto your computer.
This particular malware sends personal and financial information from the taxpayer’s computer. The information is then used for identity theft. For these reasons, the IRS and the Financial Management Service (the Treasury bureau that owns EFTPS) does not send direct notices through email. They recommend not opening any links or attachments included with an unknown email. Also, do not reply to the sender that pretends to be from the IRS or EFTPS.
According to the IRS website, “EFTPS is a tax payment system that allows individuals and businesses to pay federal taxes electronically via the Internet or phone. It is committed to taxpayer privacy and uses industry-leading security practices and technology to protect taxpayer data.”
Identity theft is a huge problem, but there are ways to combat it. There is an IRS strategy for fixing identity theft here. A key term to remember about scams is phishing. Phishing is anything that tricks a person into disclosing personal and financial information for identity through email.
Many people are afraid to use online e-file because of fear of loss of personal information. This is a legitimate consideration, but only if you go to websites that aren’t secure and open emails from unknown sources. TaxSlayer knows the ins and outs of security when it comes to taxes. The system is updated constantly to ensure the safest e-filing of taxes in the industry. As long as you stick with the recommended sites for personal tax preparation, you’ll be good to go.