Security Tip: Protect yourself during tax season
January 6, 2020
Tax season is approaching. Prepare yourself for April with these security tips.
Tax Security Incidents on the rise.
- Nearly double the number of tax-related scam incidents were viewed by the IRS in 2018 compared to 2017.
- There was a 29% increase in tax firms that experienced data theft, and a 60% increase in phishing attacks.
Protect personal and financial data online.
- Secure your computers and mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.)
- Don’t provide personal information to just anyone that asks for it.
- Look for the “https:” in web addresses when shopping.
- Avoid shopping and accessing financial data on unsecure or public WiFi.
Create strong passwords for online accounts.
- Use long phrases combined with characters and numbers. For example: SomethingOneCanRemember@30
- Use different passwords for each account and save them in a password manager.
- If two-factor authentication is available, use it!!
Don’t fall for phishing emails/texts or phone scams.
- Pay attention to the red-flags in phishing emails. If it doesn’t look right, delete it.
- Be cautious of emails from financial agencies and tax professionals. They are prime targets for phishing emails. If they get compromised, the attacker could use their email address to ask for your personal information.
- The IRS does not call demanding payment with threats of jail time or lawsuits.
- The IRS does not accept payment via gift or debit cards. They only accept payments to the United States Treasury.
- The IRS does not send unsolicited emails about refunds or payments requesting login credentials, Social Security Number, or other sensitive information.
- The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered via the USPS.
- The IRS will always send notices to taxpayers first by mail.
- Unsolicited or suspected phishing emails can be reported to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The bottom line: Never provide information to anyone contacting you via email, text, or phone claiming to be from a legitimate institution requesting personal or private information. ALWAYS call the institution yourself regarding any unsolicited issues presented to you.
Don’t wait for April to file.
- With the increase in data breaches, your personal information may already be compromised and could be used to file false tax documents. If you file as soon as you have all documents, you’re less likely to be rejected due to duplicate filings.