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Beware of COVID-19 and Tax Scams!

During this challenging time, scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus and the arrival of tax season.

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Scams

During this challenging time, scammers are using the situation to take advantage of people. Here are some tips to help you keep the scammers at bay:

Hang up on robocalls.
Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes.

Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits.
There are currently no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure COVID-19. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for COVID-19.

Fact-check information.
Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources such as websites listed below to verify the information.

Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government.
The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.

Do your homework when it comes to donations.
If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.

Do not give your personal information or credentials to anyone.
As a reminder, Star One will never ask you to disclose or verify personal information, including passwords via e-mail or text.

 

Common Tax Scams to Avoid

Your tax record includes some of your most confidential information.

The potential for easy access to all that information makes tax season a lucrative period for criminals eager to try new identity-theft scams. Stay on guard by being aware of these common tax scams:

  • Emails or phone calls claiming to be from the IRS that request additional personal or financial information to process your refund or offer to help you receive your refund faster
  • IRS impersonators using social media channels to get unsuspecting victims to click on wayward links
  • Dishonest tax-return preparers, who may skim a portion of their clients’ refunds, charge inflated fees or make false promises to attract new clients

Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from falling victim to tax scams:

  • Never give out any personal or financial information in response to an email or phone call you did not initiate
  • Avoid opening links in emails claiming to be from the IRS. A suspicious email or an IRS web address that does not begin with https://www.irs.gov should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov
  • Be wary of any tax preparer who may promise faster or more significant refunds if you pay a higher preparation fee
  • File electronically—this method is more secure and faster than using mail to submit paper tax returns

Star One encourages you to view the following publications for more information: