If you’re like many Americans, you may not have finished filing your taxes yet, and you know that the April 18th deadline is quickly approaching. Many hackers prey on last-minute filers to take advantage of people’s haste, hoping to gain sensitive information from anxious users. Hackers use a variety of phishing methods to encourage people to click on fraudulent links and attachments, which can result in malware, ransomware, refund-swiping and identity theft. Though cyber-experts say that the best way to protect yourself from these schemes is to file early, here are some ways to protect yourself from tax-related fraud and refund thieves.
- Choose reputable resources: If you’re self-filing online, use a trusted platform. If you choose to hire someone to file for you, ensure that they are who they say they are. Remember, a tax professional or service won’t ask you to email any documents unprotected- they’ll use a secure portal instead.
- Use your home Wi-Fi: As always, use secure and known Wi-Fi networks when accessing financial and personal information, as hackers can access your device an information if you’re filing over public networks.
- Be wary of phishing and smishing: The IRS never sends unsolicited emails or texts. If you need to access online forms or pages, visit the IRS site directly, and don’t take any chances by clicking on unknown links or downloading attachments from unfamiliar sources.
- Get a PIN: You can validate your identity with the IRS and receive a 6-digit code that will prevent criminals from filing a fake tax return using your Social Security Number.
- Implement 2FA and use strong passwords: These both are a must when dealing with financial information. Additionally, using an antivirus software and making sure that your operating system is up to date is recommended, and any paper copies or drives should be stores securely.
- Shred everything: Dumpster diving still happens, so make sure to shred all no longer needed tax documents before throwing them in the trash.
If you’re concerned that your organization’s financial information may have been compromised, you can reach out to us at info@OptfinITy.com