MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Norton™ LifeLock™, a Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) company, said today they are working with Liberty Tax, Inc. (OTC PINK: TAXA) to help consumers better protect their identities with a program that enables taxpayers who file with Liberty Tax this year to purchase LifeLock identity theft protection at a special discounted rate.
While identity theft knows no season, tax season can leave consumers vulnerable to tax-related identity theft – that’s when someone uses a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return. According to the IRS, taxpayers saw a surge of phishing scams in 2018, with a 60 percent increase in bogus email schemes that seek to steal money or tax data. And more than 2,000 tax-related scam incidents were reported to the IRS from January through October 2018, compared to approximately 1,200 incidents in all of 2017.12
“Tax season is a particularly vulnerable time of year for consumers, who can fall victim to phishing and other scams engineered to fool them into providing their real information to a fraud. Cyber criminals are smart – they often latch onto what’s on consumers’ minds to make their phony emails and requests seem legitimate,” said Paige Hanson, Chief of Identity Theft Education at Symantec brand Norton LifeLock. “The key is to remain vigilant. We encourage consumers to file their returns as early as possible and to keep a healthy dose of skepticism when asked to share personal information or take immediate action for anything tax-related.”
As leaders in identity theft protection and tax preparation, Norton LifeLock and Liberty Tax view tax season as an optimal time to educate taxpayers about identity theft and to incentivize them to better protect themselves and their families. Tax time is one of the times of year when taxpayers must share their personal information, and Liberty Tax preparers are trained to help taxpayers understand why it is important to protect that information. With the LifeLock discount, taxpayers can purchase identity theft protection while they have their taxes professionally prepared. They can also choose to apply their tax refund toward the cost of purchase.
Norton LifeLock and Liberty Tax recommend consumers follow the guidelines below to help protect their identity during tax season.
- Know the Signs of a Scam: Learn to recognize scams and other attempts to steal personal information. Remember, the IRS initiates most contact with taxpayers through U.S. mail. The IRS will never contact you via phone, text message, or social media to request personal or financial information, and the agency does not call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests. The IRS will never request nor accept payment via gift cards or urgent money orders.
- Be Vigilant and Pay Attention: Phishers often use real logos to make their communications seem legitimate. They also use spoofed email addresses that look like they come from the address of a friend, family members, or other trusted source. However, the address may be misspelled slightly or come from a spoofed domain. Other common signs of phishing include a sense of urgency, warnings that your account could be compromised, and messages that don’t address you by name. Remember, no legitimate business or organization will ask for sensitive financial information via email.
- Think Before You Click: Do not click on any links or download attachments in a suspicious email. Instead, open your web browser and go to the website in question by typing it into the URL bar to make sure is from a legitimate source.
- Keep Your Personal Information Close: Protect your Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, such as your Social Security Number (SSN); keep your tax records secure; use multi-factor authentication when available; and secure all your accounts with strong, unique passwords. Never give your personal information over the phone. Hang up, look up the company or organization that is making the request, and call them back directly to make sure it is a legitimate request.
For those who have experienced identity theft, including tax refund identity theft, Norton LifeLock and Liberty Tax recommend the following:
- Go to www.identitytheft.gov to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Contact one of the three major national credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion — to place a fraud alert on your credit records. The bureau you contact will notify the other two.
- Contact your bank and other financial companies. Close any accounts opened without your permission. Also, close accounts that show any suspicious activity.
- Call the IRS, and complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if your electronic tax return is rejected because a tax return bearing your SSN already has been filed, or if you have been instructed to do so by the IRS.
Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC), the world's leading cyber security company, helps organizations, governments and people secure their most important data wherever it lives. Organizations across the world look to Symantec for strategic, integrated solutions to defend against sophisticated attacks across endpoints, cloud and infrastructure. Likewise, a global community of more than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec's Norton and LifeLock product suites to protect their digital lives at home and across their devices. Symantec operates one of the world's largest civilian cyber intelligence networks, allowing it to see and protect against the most advanced threats. For additional information, please visit www.symantec.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
2 This content is meant to provide general educational information. The topics covered do not necessarily reflect whether a certain type of crime, fraud, or threat may be covered by the Norton and/or LifeLock offerings.