Protect Yourself from Phishing or Fake Email Scams
Email phishing is a type of scam where a fraudulent email imitates a legitimate company's email message. The fraudulent message will usually be alarming and ask for personal information like usernames, passwords, your date of birth, Social Security number, and other private information. In this way, scammers "phish" for private information from individuals.
How to detect a suspicious email
Most fraudulent message have these things in common.
- The email will be unexpected and request action be taken.
- The message will include alarming language.
- The message will ask you to provide personal information like usernames, passwords, your date of birth, Social Security number, and other private information.
- Links will not point to the domain they claim to be from.
- The message will have an attachment or ask you to download something.
We will never ask for birthdates, Social Security numbers, or bank information
We will never ask for personal information that is unsolicited or unexpected. We will never ask for birthdates, Social Security numbers, or bank information. In some instances, when a customer is locked out of their account, they can contact customer support for assistance. Customer support will ask the customer to verify some personal information before unlocking the account. Customer support will never contact you first and ask you for personal information.
If you have received a suspicious email, please follow these guidelines:
- Do not reply, click any links, load images, or download attachments from emails requesting personal information or that look suspicious.
- Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report the email as a phishing email in your email client.
- If you want to check the validity of the message, go to FreeTaxUSA.com directly (not through a link in an email) and sign in to your account. We will post any messages about your tax return in your account message area.
Phishing emails look very similar to legitimate email messages
These fake emails will have identical logos, formatting, and will look very official. Each link may have part of the real company's website in it. Without careful inspection, even the links will look legitimate. Some links, like the unsubscribe link, will still point to the official website while other links are fraudulent. Detecting these links may be difficult. If you are in doubt, visit the FreeTaxUSA website directly at http://www.freetaxusa.com.
Why you shouldn't reply or load images
Replying or loading images from a phishing email could put you at risk. When you reply, the scammer will know your email address is valid and that you received their message. Scammers will send thousands of emails in hopes of catching a few people that fall for their fake email. To be safe, do not reply or load any images.
The danger of opening attachments
Do not download or open any attachments if you are not expecting them from someone you know personally. Suspicious attachments usually contain viruses or malware which can infect your computer.
Do not click any links
Avoid clicking on any links in phishing emails. After clicking a link, you could be taken to a fake sign-in screen where you will be asked to enter your username and password. Other times the links lead to websites that will download viruses on your computer. To be safe, do not click any of the links.
Help protect others by reporting phishing scams
Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and other email providers have a way for users to report messages as SPAM. Some services allow you to report phishing scams too. You help protect others by reporting email phishing scams.
Pay attention to warnings from email services
Email services, like Gmail and Yahoo, have built in filters that help detect phishing emails. Pay attention to any warnings you receive from your email provider.
If you have questions, email customer support directly
The safest way to contact FreeTaxUSA is by emailing customer support directly at email@example.com. If you have a suspicious email, please forward a copy of the email to customer support. You can also sign in to your account and contact us through the Support Center.