With online scams, telemarketing scams, identity theft, and texting and email scams, how can one keep track of them all? Phishing emails are usually unexpected and unsolicited. They are messages that pretend to be from legitimate companies. We have seen a few reported instances now. In fact, we typically see a spike in these types of phishing emails during the tax season.
At Intuit TurboTax, we are committed at keeping our customers informed and empowered to protect themselves. When one of these scams involves our products, the company posts an alert at security.intuit.com to help inform our customers.
Tax-time phishing is when scammers send you a very real looking fake email and try to lure you to give them your personal information. One thing for sure is that they are getting more sophisticated which can raise flags for tax payers. Here are 3 little steps to help you avoid getting caught by a phishing scam:
How to Recognize a Scam
Be vigilant! When receiving communication from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or your tax software provider. Phishing emails can be difficult to detect to the untrained eye. The sender will use the header, contact details, logo and other content from legitimate company emails. However, often they do leave clues behind. Always remember the CRA or any legitimate company would never ask you to provide personal information through email. Here are some ways to identify phishing scams:
- Is the email asking you for something that the sender should already know?
- Are there odd spelling errors or unusual terms or phrases? Often times, many of these emails do come from overseas.
- Is the email requesting your personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, birthdate, online password, phone number or bank account number?
- Is the email promising something that sounds too good to be true, like a bigger or quicker tax refund?
Don’t Take the Bait
If you’ve received some sort communication from someone claiming to be from the CRA or your tax software provider here are a few steps to follow:
- It’s important that you do not click on any links or open attachments
- Open a new browser and access your CRA My Account; all CRA updates can be accessed there
- The CRA will send you updates or request your personal information by email
- If you don’t have a CRA My Account, hang up and call the CRA through one of the numbers on the official CRA website to confirm that it is legit
- If you’ve received suspicious communication from TurboTax or any other tax software provider, close the email or hang up the phone
- Make sure to contact the company’s customer care using the numbers provided on the official website to report the instance
Protect Your Identity
Here are some tips to help keep your identity safe:
- Never provide personal information over the internet or through email
- Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords, and PINs in a safe place
- Change your passwords regularly
- Choose your tax preparation method carefully! Make sure you choose someone you trust. Always review your return and follow up to make sure you receive your notice of assessment
- Be careful before you click on links in any communication you receive
If you do receive a suspicious email, make sure to contact our support team and forward the email email@example.com. You can protect yourself, and others from being lured. Information is power. The more we work together to identify and alert other customers about phishing scams, the safer everyone will be.
Learn more about phishing at these sites:
Dina is one of the editors of the TurboTax blog and heads the social media department here at TurboTax Canada. So, if you’re ever on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat make sure to stop by on our page to engage and join in on the fun (it’s also a great way to stay in tune and get updates on the latest content being released).