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Beware of tax-time scams

Scamming activity soars during tax season. Find out how to protect yourself.

March 21, 2018

Online scammer

Scammers work overtime during tax season. In fact, a common type of identity theft is tax-related – when a criminal files a fraudulent tax return using someone else’s Social Security Number and other personal information in an effort to steal potential refund money.

Beware of these commonly used ploys during tax season and throughout the year:

  • Internal Revenue Service impersonation phone scams – Callers claiming to be IRS employees insist that you owe money that must be paid back as soon as possible. If you don’t answer your phone, they leave an emergency call-back message with a bogus phone number.
  • Phishing messages received via email, text messages, social-media posts and fake websites – Messages ask for your personal information or prompt you to click on links in an attempt to steal your personal information or infect your computer with malware or a virus.

What you can do…

  • Review the list of known Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts and the Identity Theft for Taxpayers PDF on the IRS website.
  • If you are expecting a tax refund, file your taxes as early as possible to decrease the chance of someone filing a fake return and getting the refund mailed to them.
  • Don’t provide personal information to a random caller, message, post, tweet or website. If you don’t know the sender or caller or the offer is too good to be true, it’s probably a phishing attack.
  • Never click on a link in a message or on a website unless it goes to a URL you trust. Hover over the link (don't click), or for a touchscreen, press and hold the link (don't tap), to reveal the URL in the bottom left corner of the browser window.

Please know that ITS is here to help. If you receive a malicious or suspicious email or phone call at your University-assigned email or phone number, please forward the information to for investigation. Feel free to contact the ITS Helpdesk at 303-352-7548 or if you have any questions or concerns.

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