How Retailers Can Protect Themselves From Tax Scams
It's high season for tax scams as we near Tax Day on April 15, and retailers, like everyone else, are in danger of becoming a victim to fraudsters. In fact, with large staffs that may be untrained on what to look for or be aware of when it comes to scams, retailers are particularly vulnerable. Revenue loss from tax fraud and schemes costs the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but it also affects corporations and institutions. Tax season offers a way in for criminals posing as the IRS or other government agencies, who then, with sensitive information in hand, are able to steal data or employee personal information.
Annually, the IRS releases its Dirty Dozen list of tax scams to watch out for during tax season. Highlighted below are the top three scams from this year's list, as well as some recommendations on how retailers can avoid falling victim.
Phone scams are a form of social engineering and have been around for some time now. The most common phone scam is the tech support scam. Scammers call, pretending to be from tech support saying they've found a virus on your computer or network and offer to remove it if you give them control over your computer. Once they have control, your computer and personal information are vulnerable.
The IRS has seen a surge of phone scams in recent months, with scam artists threatening arrest, deportation, license revocation or other intimidation methods. Scammers might also call pretending to be the IRS and ask for the company's banking or credit card information. The IRS will never call you, so just hang up.
Key Takeaway: Counsel employees to not trust or provide any personal or company information if they receive an unsolicited call, no matter who it's from.