January 27, 2020

Staying Safe During Tax Season

Written by: Raj Sharma Head of Information Security, VP, Northern Bank

Tax season may feel like it’s far away, but it will be here before you know it, increasing the risk of online tax scams. There have been reported cases by the Federal Trade commission where criminals use another person’s social security number and file the tax return to get the tax refund. This type of scam has become more popular with each passing year.

Scammers are also impersonating the IRS via phone scams and insisting that individuals owe them money to be paid as soon as possible. They are also creating crafty phishing emails and sending text messages in hopes that you will provide valuable personal information to be used to fill out your return forms.

Follow these cyber tips to stay safe during tax season!

  • Keep your machines clean; Ensure that it is running an antivirus solution and is applied within the latest patches.
  • If you complete your taxes online ensure that the user id and password is known only to you, and the password cannot be easily guessed. Most tax services, such as TurboTax, now allow individuals to choose two-factor authentication which requires a combination of a password and a text to verify the identity. It is best to enable two-factor authentications to access your online tax service.
  • Do not complete your taxes online using a free WIFI spot or a public WIFI.
  • The IRS will never call you and demand that you pay money via a gift card or pay them immediately. If you receive any calls like this, simply hang up.
  • If you receive an email requesting personal information, do not provide any.
  • Beware of free online tax filing services. It is best to file your taxes from a reputable online institution verses a new filing service that just came out.
  • If you file your taxes using a third party or individual, ensure that they follow secure information security practices and have the proper safeguards in place prior to giving out your information.
Written by
Raj Sharma
Head of Information Security, VP, Northern Bank

Raj Sharma brings 19 years of Information Security experience in the banking industry to his role at Northern Bank. On the Northern Bank Team since 2018, Raj has played an integral part in building the Information Security function that is so critical to mitigating the ever changing security threat environment. He holds a Masters in Information Security and several industry recognized certifications such as CISSP (Certified Information Security Systems Professional) and CISM (Certified Information Security Manager). Raj is so interested in Information Security, he not only chose it as a career, he makes it his hobby and is constantly learning about new technologies.

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Northern Bank is a full service bank dedicated to providing practical, common sense financial solutions to help our customers’ lives and businesses grow. From deposit products to loans to payment and collections services, we work hands on with our entrepreneurial customers, both locally and across the country, to provide the financial support they need to realize their personal and business goals. Founded in 1960, Northern Bank has assets of $2 billion with 12 locations serving communities throughout Middlesex County. Northern Bank is a Member of the FDIC, an Equal Housing Lender, and consistently ranked among the best performing community banks in New England.

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