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How to avoid phishing scams

There is much for parents to consider on

There is much for parents to consider on the issue of when to help for adult children financially. (Undated0 Photo Credit: iStock

BE WARY. Beware of any e-mail (or telephone call or fax) that asks you for information such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers. The IRS never asks for such information that way.

DON'T TELL. Beware of e-mails promising tax refunds or lottery winnings or threatening penalties and then asking you to provide personal financial information to obtain the refund or winnings or avoid the penalty.

WATCH LINKS. Beware of clickable links to purported government Web sites. The links can contain viruses and/or transfer you to a Web address different from the text that appears in the link.

MISTAKES A CLUE. Look for typos, incorrect grammar or odd phrasing in suspect e-mails. The IRS says many e-mail scams originate overseas and are written by non- native English speakers.

TAKE CARE ONLINE. E-filers should be especially alert for e-mails received after they file, alleging problems with delivery and asking for the return to be refiled.

SUSPICIOUS? If you're suspicious about any notice to call the IRS, call the agency at this national toll free number - 800-829-1040 - to make sure the request is legitimately from the agency.

PASS IT ON. Forward suspicious tax-related e-mails to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov

SEND OUT ALERTS. If you do fall for an Internet scam and give out sensitive information, react as if your wallet had been stolen; contact banks and credit card companies and alert them that your identity has been compromised. Visit the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's Web site for identity theft, www.OnGuardOnline.gov, for guidance on what else to do.

SOURCE: IRS; TOURO LAW CENTER INSTITUTE FOR BUSINESS, LAW AND TECHNOLOGY; JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER FOR CYBERCRIME STUDIES

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