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
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.