Increase in tax-related phishing scams in Kentucky

With tax season underway in Kentucky, there is a notable uptick in tax-related phishing scams. Fraudsters are posing as reputable tax companies such as TurboTax and H&R Block, distributing harmful links through deceptive emails and phone calls.

Victims are often tricked into interacting with these scams, causing their sensitive information to be collected for nefarious activities. Typical scamming methods involve fraudulent tax returns, fabricated refunds, or false claims of owed back taxes.

Cybersecurity expert Alex Risen warns that these scams frequently exploit tax season, circulating faux-messages imitating known tax service providers. Fraudulent websites designed to steal private information lure in unsuspecting victims.

Trusted tax agencies will not ask for sensitive information via email unexpectedly.

Risen highlights the importance of skepticism when receiving unexpected communications requesting immediate action or financial details.  Instead, he suggests using secured networks while filing taxes and refraining from sharing personal data on public networks.

In these phishing scams, fake IRS representatives often target individuals with narratives of unpaid taxes. Fraudulent email links generally redirect users to counterfeit websites where personal information and login details are stolen.

Risen urges people to adopt measures such as directly accessing official sites for services and maintaining high skepticism when receiving requests for personal information through messages, emails, or calls. He also advises timely software updates and strong, unique passwords for each account.

Organizations such as the IRS or large businesses seldom request personal or sensitive details through emails or phone interactions. Interactions of this sort should be met with suspicion and reported to relevant authorities promptly.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service reported that identity theft cases due to scams rose to 294,138 cases in 2023, an increase that illustrates the severity and impact of such scams. Resolving these cases typically took a whopping 19 months.

Staying informed and vigilant is key to preventing the victimization of these tax scams. Any encounter with such phishing schemes should be immediately reported to the related service providers via their official websites. Remember, your first defense line is to stay alert and updated.

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