KANSAS CITY, Mo (KSNT) – Tax season is here, and consumers using online financial services should be mindful of how they share personal information.

Scammers are more prominently phishing through fraudulent financial services during this time of year.

Phishing is when criminals send emails or messages claiming to be a reputable company. Scammers do this to get sensitive data like social security and bank account numbers. 

Homeland Security Investigations say phishing emails and other fraudulent financial services are standard this time of year.

27 News met with Special Agent Acting In Charge Taekuk Cho from HSI Kansas City, who explained that these scammers use fear to steal their information and money.

“[They] will state they’ll contact the police if you don’t pay a certain amount right away, or they’re going to seize your car or home,” Cho said. ”Anytime you receive a phone call or email, delete it right away, block the number. Then contact your local law enforcement.”

Last year, the U.S. Government seized over $2 billion in fraudulent financial services.

Cho said to double-check the website URLs and email addresses that contact you, as well as avoiding sending personal information and your taxes through the mail as the mail is frequently lost or stolen.

The IRS will never contact you via email, text, or social media. Instead, they will send official correspondence via regular mail. Therefore, if you receive an email or text message claiming to be from the IRS, do not respond or click on any links. 

If you receive a suspicious email in your inbox, text message, or phone call, please delete the message and block them from contacting you. Contact Homeland Security Investigations if you have or someone you know has been scammed. If you would like to make a report, call 866-347-2423 or visit this site.