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'Tis the season for cyber crooks, IRS warns holidays are busy times for identity thieves

Posted at 7:53 PM, Nov 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-30 20:53:28-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 'Tis the season to be looking for that perfect gift online.

But at the same time, crooks are looking for your sensitive data like bank account, credit card and social security numbers to rip you off.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, to date this year, thieves have contacted more than 2 million people claiming to be Internal Revenue Service agents collecting money.

According to the feds, scammers have pocketed more than $62 million.

And with the end of the year approaching and tax season starting, the feds are warning crooks will try to steal both the identities of individuals and businesses.

Some tips to avoid becoming a victim include avoiding making financial transactions online using unsecured public wifi.

Also, as we inch closer to tax season, scammers may try to get your W-2 information to file false tax returns to get a bogus refund.

For help with tax issues, contact the IRS online.

Authorities also warn to be aware of the phone calls from phony IRS agents.

"The IRS will never threaten to have you arrested if you immediately don't pay money," said David Renfro of the U.S. Treasury Department.

Calls from IRS scammers can be reported to The Treasury Department.

For added security, authorities also recommend using firewall and anti-virus protections when online.

They also suggest encrypting sensitive files like tax records and to use strong passwords.

However, according to the IRS, the most common way thieves get sensitive data is by simply asking for it.