Keep yourself protected from scammers as tax season begins

DARE COUNTY, N.C. - When you get an email from your boss requesting information, you’ll normally want to respond quickly. However, authorities are telling citizens to look out for potential scams.

According to experts, scammers from around the world are looking to get their hands on personal information from people filing their taxes.

The Dare County Sheriff issued a warning after certain school district employees were issued an email that appeared to be from their boss, Dare County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sue Burgess.

The email requested copies of the employees’ W-2 forms and other personal information. A finance officer had suspicion and talked to the superintendent’s office and they realized a fraudster was behind the email.

Cyber security expert Charles Tendell said tax season is when scammers crawl out of the woodwork.

“The scammers are out in masses, coming from the left and right so they’re going to be coming at you through email, phone calls, you might even get some text messages and some Facebook messages sent to you,” said Tendell.

Problems are being reported across the country.

In Greensboro, North Carolina, teachers in Davidson County had their personal information compromised when the district sent out their W-2 information after receiving a phony email.

In Indianapolis, 4,000 employees from one business were notified that their W-2’s were in the hands of a scammer.

“It`s just really scary because it`s just something you have no control over and when you join a company, you kind of take that for granted that your identity is going to be protected,” said a victim who didn’t want to be identified.

Last year, a similar scam spread throughout the Tidewater area of Virginia involving phishing. Phishing is when people on the internet attempt to commit fraud by impersonating a business or other entity to trick you into giving out your personal information.

To protect yourself from scams, do not reply, email, text or call the person that asks for your personal and/or financial information. Do not click the links within the email either, even if the message appears to be from an organization you trust. Legitimate businesses do not ask you to send your sensitive information through unsecured channels, such as email.