File Taxes Early to Avoid Tax Fraud and Identity Theft

Get Ahead of Tax Fraud and Identity Theft 

Filing your taxes can be a pain, but dealing with tax fraud and identity theft can be even worse. As we scramble to compile our W-2s and file our returns by the April deadline, we often forget that tax season is also considered open season for identity thieves. 

Many of last year’s large-scale data breaches (like Equifax and Alteryx) have already given identity thieves a leg-up in the tax fraud and identity theft game. These breach events exposed a multitude of personal and financial information that experts predict will be used to fraudulently file tax returns this year. 

Fraudsters also effectively cover their bases by using a variety of tax-related scams that play on a victim’s fears. Scammers hope they can convince you to hand over personal and financial information to be used in other crimes. 

What should you look for? What can you do? Find all the answers to your tax crime-related questions concerning your personal information, the scams targeting you and best tax-filing practices.     Continue reading

Three Gift Card Scams to Avoid

Double Check Your Gift Cards

Gift card fraud affects digital and physical gift cards alike. While fraudsters may approach gift card fraud with a variety of scams, the goal is to ultimately steal the funds from the cards while remaining undetected. 

Most likely you’ve probably bought and/or received at least one gift card this year. Whether it was for a birthday, holiday, special event or “just because,” gift cards are the most wanted – and most popular gift in the U.S. for nearly any occasion. 

With a 200 percent increase in digital gift cards last year, it can be easy to forget these cards hold real monetary value that fraudsters want to take for themselves. Gift card fraud is on the rise, as Flashpoint cited a notable increase in discussions surrounding gift cards on the Dark Web in 2017. Let’s look at some ways that fraudsters use scams to commit gift card fraud.  Continue reading

New Breach Sparks Concern Over Social Engineering

Social Engineering Expected to Increase 

A recent data breach affecting 123 million American households speaks to the expected increase in social engineering scams of those impacted by the breach. 

California-based data service company Alteryx recently experienced a data breach that exposed some PII elements (address, phone number, longitude/latitude coordinates). However, the data exposed is even more troubling because it was paired with extensive analytics on consumer behaviors, interests and financial/spending habits. The 36 GB file focused mostly on consumer behavioral segments – 248 to be exact – like “Book Buyer,” “Religious Contributor,” “Phone Activity Date” and “Interest in Gourmet Cooking.”    Continue reading