Last-Minute Tax Season Tips To Avoid Scams

Protect yourself from the annual scammer surge with tips from experts who can help make your tax season seamless.
Apr 3, 2024 10:00 AM ET

Tax season is a time when scammers are on high alert — which means you should be too. The IRS warns of upticks in scams meant to deceive individuals, businesses and tax professionals, but fear not — we’ve got your back! Meet Carrie Kerskie, the identity theft security expert extraordinaire. As the president of the renowned Kerskie Group and author of the eye-opening book Your Public Identity: Because Nothing is Private Anymore, she’s a pro at sharing how people can keep their identities safe from those pesky scammers. She’s also the host of the super informative podcast “Privacy Mentor,” where she spills all the secrets on how to outsmart those fraudsters.

“This stuff can be overwhelming to people,” she says. “In 15 years of meeting with victims, I’ve worked with people who’ve seen their entire life savings gone overnight. It can be devastating. With these types of crimes, it feels like you’re being played by a ghost,” Carrie adds. “You never know who did it. You don’t know how they got your information. You don’t know where they are.”

Here are some of Carrie’s top tips to stay one step ahead of these sneaky criminals.

  • Prioritize your privacy. Make it tough for the bad guys by using strong and unique passwords with at least 12 characters. When it comes to PINs, opt for random numbers and take advantage of extra security measures. Adding multi-factor authentication to your apps and accounts adds an extra layer of protection against potential threats.
  • Leverage the resources available to you. Take advantage of the free anti-fraud safeguards provided by your mobile carrier. For example, T-Mobile's Scam Shield offers enhanced caller ID, scam ID and blocking, which helps identify and block suspicious calls. Download the app and simply follow these steps to get all the protections! T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers can download the Scam Shield app for free on the App Store or Google Play. To learn more about how T-Mobile helps protect customers from scammers, check out the 2023 Scam and Robocall Report.
  • Report anything suspicious or fraudulent. You can report phishing emails or websites to the IRS at, or report phone scams to the FCC at You can also file complaints with the FTC at Smishing texts, the text version of phishing emails, have become increasingly popular. If you receive a suspicious text, don't click on any links or reply. T-Mobile customers can forward Smishing texts to 7726, a service that screens out these types of messages.
  • Validate a sender’s information. When encountering any potential threat via email, text, letter or phone call, it’s crucial to confirm its authenticity or legitimacy. If it seems suspicious, it’s best to discard it, block the number or email address, and report it as spam or junk mail. Also, don’t click on links or open attachments from unknown or suspicious sources. They could contain malware or viruses that could compromise your device or data. And remember that the IRS — and many reputable companies — will never initiate contact via phone, email or social media to request personal or financial information or immediate payment. If you owe taxes, you will receive a bill in the mail, and you can pay online or by mail using the official IRS website or address.

    Get even more last minute tax season tips from financial experts helping you learn ways to make the most of your tax return HERE.