SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Thursday, the IRS, BBB, FBI and other agencies and organizations held a press conference encouraging San Diego taxpayers to beware of scams and protect their tax data and identities, as the holiday season is here and tax filing season approaches.
"When you're at the mall or the airport or Starbucks and you turn on your phone, you'll see free WiFi. Be very careful of what you decide to use or access when you're using free WiFi. As you're taking advantage of free WiFi, a hacker can take advantage of you," said David Williams of Intuit Tax and Financial.
Organizers urged everyone to avoid opening financial information in unsecured areas. They're asking San Diegans to stay hyper-vigilant about privacy protection.
"Last year, we had about 6,500 scams reported to us and about 20 percent were tax scams," said Jennifer Fabrick of the San Diego BBB.
Chris Christopherson of the San Diego FBI added, "We at the FBI have seen people who've had tax documents like 1040s and W2s sitting in email accounts that are unencrypted [and then someone's] hacked the computer and stolen documents and it enables identity theft."
Staying skeptical and recognizing red flags are of key importance, they said.
"The IRS will never call and demand. We will not threaten to arrest you over the phone. We will not do any of that," added Maura Krajewski from IRS Investigations.
Watch the full press conference here: