The deadline for filing your taxes is coming near and all the tax scammers are going to come out from their respective caves looking to cheat more people this season. Apart from these scammers, phishers also get busy this season because there’s lot of PII that’ll do rounds.

Internal Revenue Service knows about these guys too and they have recently issued a notice: “As tax season begins this year, we want to be clear that there is a heavy price to pay for perpetrators of refund fraud and identity theft,” said Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller in a statement.

Did you know that in the year 2012 there were around 898 identity thefts that happened? This number was just 276 in the year 2011. They almost tripled in just one year! The online scams haven’t changed much from last year and do you know what that means? It’s easy to stay away from these scammers and their attempts to steal / cheat. You usually get emails from people that say, “There’s a problem with your return; you need to send us $500 to fix it.” Those are the ones that you need to stay away from.

Apart from the same old tricks, there’s also a new technique that’s doing rounds. It’s called “long-lining” and it is gaining popularity with the scammers. It’s basically an extension of phishing – like large-scale phishing. It is named after industrial fishing practice, where long lines of fishing lines are employed with individual hooks. This technique is different from phishing and is mostly undetectable (compared to the phishing emails) and this is why you need to be very careful with such emails.

These emails don’t look suspicious and then they guide you to a genuine and trusted website before leading you to one of their URLs where the action happens. And since these emails look credible, many people are falling for this and the click-rate on these emails is astounding 10% on an average. Keep watching this space to know more about other such security tips.