How to Avoid Tax Scams
Top Security Tips for Tax Season
It’s finally March which means warmer weather is upon us! It also means we are in the heat of tax season. However, what you might not know is that tax scams are a very prevalent threat to taxpayers during this season.
The Internet makes it easier than ever for cybercriminals and hackers to gain access to your personal information. Just like individuals, businesses can have their identity stolen too. Tax refunds could disappear and employee social security numbers can be stolen.
You may be wondering what exactly happens in a tax return theft. In short, a tax scam is when a hacker obtains your personal information and uses it to steal your tax return. If you think filing your taxes is tedious and unexciting, wait until you spend the time filing only to realize you have been victim of tax identity theft. What’s worse than that is you likely won’t even know you’re a victim until you go to file your taxes and the IRS rejects your (duplicate) return.
Here are some quick tips to reduce your risk of falling victim to a costly and time-consuming scam.
Be Diligent with Passwords
We all know remembering complex passwords can be a pain. However, when it comes to something as important as your tax return – something that contains so much personal information – it’s worth being diligent in making sure the password you use is complex and uncommon.
Some simple guidelines to follow are the longer the password, the better, and mix up the use of numbers and capital letters in unsuspected places (for example, don’t put them at the beginning or the end). While these are important guidelines, there are still steps more you can take to ensure a strong and unique password.
Good Cybersecurity Practices
First and foremost, keep the software on your device up-to-date. You may feel like you are constantly installing software updates on your devices, but in reality, you probably aren’t updating it enough. As tempting as it is to click the “Remind me later’ button, don’t. Software updates often fix security holes that have been discovered and remove computer bugs.
After you’ve updated your software, make sure you aren’t logged into your accounts while connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi network. More importantly, do not prepare or file your taxes on a public network. Lastly, be sure to backup your devices regularly, preferably on the cloud.
Like mentioned, tax season is prime time for phishing attacks. Hackers can create formal, realistic looking emails asking for information for your tax return. They may ask for anything from your social security number to your W2 information.
During tax season, be extra careful of any emails you receive asking for sensitive information – especially if they’re from a sender you don’t recognize. In fact, if it looks at all fishy or suspicious, it probably is. Remember it’s better to be safe than sorry. Luckily, there are indicators that can help you spot if an email is fraudulent or not.
Don’t let your business or employees fall victim to hacker schemes. Contact Plow today.
Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, Plow is a Total Service Provider (TSP) with several distinct business practices that, when consumed together, offer our clients a unique, best-in-class experience that give them peace of mind, valuable time back and the economies of scale that come with having one partner that is focused on exceeding their expectations with every engagement.