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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

The security of your personal data and financial information is extremely important to us. In this challenging time, scammers are using the situation to take advantage of people. We want you to be safe and aware of their schemes. Help protect yourself with these tips.

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 "miracle" cures.
There are currently no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure COVID-19.

Fact-check information.
Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn't been verified. Before acting on this information, contact trusted sources and websites to verify the accuracy of the information.

Don't respond to inquiries about the Economic Impact Payment.
Don't respond to phone, mail, email, text or social media requesting verification of personal information, fees, or banking information in order to receive your stimulus check. For more information including eligibility and any action you need to take, visit the IRS website.

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. And only donate to trusted organizations.

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

Do not go to or enter personal information on unfamiliar websites.
Fake websites and applications may claim to share news, testing results, or other COVID-19 related information. But they will actually install malware, steal your personal information such as bank information or credentials, or cause other harm.

Be aware when working from home.
As employees sheltering in place work remotely, their personal devices are at increased risk. Be aware of fraudsters' tactics which include phishing, social engineering, and hacking. Use anti-virus software, and stick to trusted apps and websites.

For more information about current scams and how to avoid them, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

 

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: