It’s tax  filing time. That means it’s tax scam time.

Every year people make money off taxes, and I’m not talking about Uncle Sam.  Con artists and identity thieves long ago realized that our fear of making a  tax mistake coupled with basic human greed create the perfect breeding ground  for their schemes. And some people are just too trusting.   I get emails from potential clients discussing  their tax troubles. In addition to relaying their tax specifics,  people also send me all sorts of personal details, including their Social  Security and bank account numbers.  Not everyone is so honest as I am.

Guard your information

The Internal Revenue  Service and I want to remind you of ways to protect your private information so you don’t become a  tax scam victim before this filing season is over. First and foremost,  the IRS never asks for detailed personal  and financial information like PINs, passwords or similar secret access  information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts, social security numbers, birth certificates. Also, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request  personal or financial information. If you do get a phone call or email seeking this information, you are talking  to or corresponding with a crook.

Handling email from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an  IRS site

  • Do not reply to the message.
  • Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that  will infect your computer.
  • Do not click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious email or  phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website and  enter the search term ‘identity theft’ for more information and resources to  help.

The address of the official IRS website is www.irs.gov. Do not be confused or  misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but which end in .com, .net, .org or  other designations instead of .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is  bogus, do not provide any personal information on the suspicious site and report  it to the IRS. If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual  claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee,  contact the IRS at (800)  829-1040  to determine  if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence to the IRS. Forward suspicious email to  phishing@irs.gov. You also can get additional info on how to report specific  types of scams and what to do if you’re victimized by going to the IRS website  and clicking on “phishing” on the home page. The IRS wants to know about every tax scam out there. The agency has investigators to track  down these criminals. Help them out, not the crooks trying to get control of  your money and your life.

Reprinted from www.bankrate.com