It’s tax season in the United States, which means it’s time for us to remind you about tax scams—especially email messages that appear to come from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another legitimate organization.
These seemingly valid offers are designed to trick you into turning over your personal information or to click on links or attachments that will automatically download malicious software to your computer.
The most common tax scams we’ve seen include:
- Fraudulent links to get your refund
- Free tax preparation or tax preparation software
- Promises to get you out of paying your taxes
To help avoid tax scams
Be careful when you click links or open attachments. If you need to go to the IRS website, use a bookmark or type the URL directly into your web browser. Read more about how the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or any social media tools to request personal or financial information.
Use antivirus software. Download Microsoft Security Essentials at no cost for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Windows Defender is an antivirus feature in Windows 8 that replaces Microsoft Security Essentials.
Use email software with built-in spam filtering. SmartScreen technology helps reduce unwanted email. It’s built into Microsoft email programs (Outlook.com, Hotmail, Outlook, Exchange, Windows Mail, and Entourage) and is turned on by default.
Read more about security features in Outlook.com and Hotmail.