Tax season is upon us and it isn't always everyone's favorite time of the year. According to a study done by Javelin Strategy and Research in 2017, nearly one in three consumers were notified that their data had been breached and they were victims of identity fraud. This, along with all the other data breaches we hear about, it is more important than ever to safeguard yourself while you are online.
So, today we have a few cyber safety and security tips to help you ensure a safer tax season.
There has been an increase in the number of phone scams that happen during this time of the year. Many times, these phone scams are directed at consumers with people claiming to be from the IRS. They call and insist that you owe them money and try to scare you into paying.
It is important to remember that the real IRS will never contact you in this way. They will also never demand immediate payments. If you owe any money, you will more than likely receive a letter in the mail.
Cybercriminals will also send out phishing emails in an attempt to gain vulnerable information. Do not reply to or open any unsolicited texts, emails, and social media posts.
Cybercriminals can commit identity theft easily when you click on a link or share personal and financial information. These links may contain malware, viruses, spyware, and other software that can be installed without your consent. This can ultimately affect your computer files.
You also have to watch out for who prepares your taxes. Some people may target unsuspecting taxpayers and instead of helping you file your taxes; they are actually stealing your information. Your tax preparer should have an IRS preparer identification number.
Cybersecurity Tips to Remember
To avoid becoming a victim this tax season, there are a few things you can do.
- Never click without thinking. Malicious links can be extremely damaging. Inspect every link and make sure it has come from a trusted sender before clicking on it.
- Stick with your own devices. Try to avoid using other people's devices as much as possible. You don't want to share any of your credentials with other people, and you shouldn't allow anyone to have remote access to your computer.
- Digital footprints. You should monitor all of your accounts for suspicious activity. Keep track of your digital footprint and delete any accounts you aren't using.
- Secure connections. Never connect to an unsecured connection. Only connect with private networks − especially if you are going to be managing private and sensitive information.
- Secure your mobile device. Security also needs to apply to your mobile devices as well as your desktop. Always use strong passwords and biometric features. You also want to turn Bluetooth off and avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi.
Have more questions or concerns when it comes to your cybersecurity? Do you have network security issues that need to be addressed? Make sure to contact your local security company in Brevard, NC so they can help ensure you have a more secure connection.