By: Alyssa Marsico

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio1020 KDKA) – Tax season deadlines are about a month away and people scramble to make sure all their paperwork is in order. Tax payers also want to make sure they get the most out of their refund, this leaves them open to scammers claiming to give them the best deal!

Chris Hadnagy, Chief Human Hacker at Social Engineer Inc. and author of “Unmasking the Social Engineer,” joined Bill Rehkopf on the KDKA Afternoon News to give everyone some tips on how to avoid tax season scams.

Hadnagy admits to learning his hacking skills when he used to “play on the wrong side of the fence.” Well now he uses these skills to help prevent hackers from getting their hands on your information.

“What I do is I help companies find those vulnerabilities and then fix them before the bad guys exploit them,” Hadnagy said.

Hadnagy admits that it’s scary to see how good some of these scams are getting to be compare to just a few years ago, they went from being easily detected they are fake to becoming more and more realistic. He says that tax time is a prime time to see these new scams pop up.

“We are going to start seeing maybe around the 15th of April, when the people are filling the taxes and now they are expecting a return, we are going to start seeing a lot of emails that are coming from the IRS or proposed to come from the IRS. Those seem to become really effective because you filled your tax return now you get an email saying there was a problem with your filling, there was a problem with your tax return and in order to fix it so you can get your refund you need to click here,” Hadnagy explains.

He says people will fall for this and willingly fill out paperwork giving away more of their personal information with out really doing the proper research to make sure the email was sent from a legitimate agency. These scammers go off of people’s fear knowing they need to get their returns in by the deadline they just want to get everything filled as quickly as possible.

Hadnagy gives us some examples on ways to avoid falling victim to these scams.

“Another tip I always give is don’t just click the link in the email, if you really think there is a problem open up your browser and go to the actual IRS page or go to your Amazon page or your Netflix account, whatever that email is go to that page log in go check for that error message there as opposed to clicking the link in an email,” Hagnagy said.

Listen to the entire interview below:

You can also listen to the Afternoon News with Bill Rehkopf weekdays 3-7 p.m.

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