Every twelvemonth stories come out almost some unscrupulous perpetrator who preys upon an unsuspecting victim worried well-nigh paying his taxes. The IRS and other agencies provide warnings, merely someone e’er gets caught up in the hysteria and has their money or identity stolen.
Tyler Moffitt, senior threat research analyst at Webroot, provides the following tips for staying secure this tax season.
[ MORE SCAMS: The worst of the worst phishing scams ]
1. Do not send personal data over electronic mail:
Be aware that the IRS will not contact you via email to asking any personal or financial information. Practise not click on any links or download attachments from emails challenge to be from the IRS. Government tax collection agencies never contact taxpayers by electronic mail to let them know they’ve received a refund. They already know where to send the money if yous’ve called to due east-file and electronically deposit your refund.
2. Beware of IRS-specific scams:
Phishing attacks confronting taxpayers are very common. Scams can involve web pages that wait like the IRS’ website and typically incorporate warnings or outrageously large promises for a refund. The messages often are presented as if they originate from a tax authorisation, but contain links leading to phishing sites or malicious attached files. If you lot receive a message from “the IRS” with an attached file, don’t open up the zipper.
iii. Avoid using search engines:
Click on links that take y’all direct to the source. Poisoned search results may inadvertently pb you lot to unsafe sites. If you need tax-related information or demand to download whatever forms, become straight to the official IRS website at www.irs.gov instead of using a search engine.
4. Update your software:
Always download the latest updates to Windows, likewise equally any non-Microsoft applications (such as Adobe Reader, Foxit Reader or whatever application you use to read PDF documents). These updates can help prevent infections that take advantage of security vulnerabilities in those products.
5. Start with a make clean machine:
When it comes to preparing and collecting the information you need to file your taxes, yous should ever get-go the same fashion: perform a full scan of the computer with an up-to-engagement antivirus program. Exercise this before you log into your bank account or any other website that may hold your private financial information, including your online tax filing service, if yous utilize one.
six. Practise good countersign hygiene:
Make certain you lot apply complex passwords and modify them oftentimes. If y’all have trouble remembering your passwords, be sure to use a credible countersign managing director. For added protection, leverage two-gene hallmark similar biometrics if your device supports it (e.k., a thumbprint) and then use a 2nd method of authentication such every bit a long password. Make certain y’all don’t auto-save your login data and when you finish an online session, be sure to log out of any sites with sensitive account information, such equally TurboTax or H&R Block.
seven. Limit apply of public Wi-Fi:
If checking tax information in a public setting, avoid connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots and use your cellular network connection. Most hotspots and public Wi-Fi networks inherently lack acceptable protection, leaving your mobile devices, tablets and personal computers at hazard. On top of that, malicious users frequently will create networks or URLs similar to coffee shops, airports or similar venues. In almost cases, you should turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings on devices if it’s non needed.
8. Consider your web browser options:
We recommend that you use a browser other than Internet Explorer to file taxes. If you use Firefox, consider installing the NoScript, AdBlock Plus and the HTTPS Anywhere add together-ons, which in combination tin can prevent online threats from causing infections.
9. Continue personal information off your hard bulldoze:
When you’ve finished filing your taxes, collect your forms and revenue enhancement return documents and burn down them to a CD or DVD. Delete the taxation tape documents and returns from your computer’s hard bulldoze and articulate the browser’southward history using the browser’due south own privacy settings.
Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.