How to avoid tax scams

Tax season’s coming up.

It’s a time when scammers are lurking, targeting businesses and tax preparers.

In this Action Line Consumer Alert, this is a warning to keep you from becoming a victim.

Traditionally during tax season it’s individuals who are usually the targets.

But over the last few years, accounting and payroll departments, as well as tax professionals have been hit.

What the scammers are doing is they’re sending emails, pretending to be the CEO or someone from the corporate office requesting an electronic copy of all the employees’ W-2s.

“A lot of identity theft starts with getting your address, your Social Security number, a lot of personal data that is contained on tax forms and at this time tax forms are being passed around, maybe being sent through email, through the internet,” said Jason Kama, Hawaii Better Business Bureau Director of Marketing.

Once the employee sends the data, the scammer has access to all that information.

Tax preparers are also getting similar requests but instead the email looks to be from the IRS, asking them to update their account by clicking on a link, then taking them to a bogus site that steals their username and password. Ultimately your financial security and identity are at risk.

“Also the scammers are getting really, really authentic looking. They’ve stepped their game up too. It’s not as easy to determine if it’s a scam or not,” explained Kama.

The IRS recommends you file your taxes as soon as possible in order to prevent someone from posing as you and filing a return in your name.

Be aware of who has access to your W-2 forms.

Businesses and tax professionals should always double check any suspicious requests for sensitive information.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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