Tax season is coming to an end. While you were searching high and low for your tax documents, cybercriminals were likely scouring the internet to find your private information.
In 2021, there were more than 1.4 million reports of identity theft across the country. With tax-related identity theft being the most common form during tax filing season, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
If you’re wondering what you can do to keep your information protected this tax season, or next, keep reading. We’ve put together a list of best practices for years of filing to come.
Common tax season scams:
- Phishing – Fake emails, fake advertisements, websites to gain personal info
- Phone scams – criminals impersonating IR agents – threaten to arrest or deport you if you don’t pay an overdue tax bill
- Fraudulent tax preparers – Will put together refunds with false information
- Identity theft – Uses your information to get a refund from the IRS before you have the chance to file your taxes
How to protect yourself during tax season:
- Ensure your passwords are secure, check for compromised passwords or your information being included in recent data breaches
- File early, to ensure someone doesn’t use your social security number to file before you can with a false return, as the IRS only accepts a single return for each SSN
- Take your forms directly to the post office, thieves sometimes steal tax forms from your mailbox
- Only work with tax prepares you trust, qualified individuals have a tax preparer ID number
- Only use secure filing websites, look for the “https” on websites, which means the site is encrypted
- Use a pin – the IRS offers an identity protection pin for taxpayers who successfully verify their identity with an agency
- Only you and the IRS have access to this pin
- Never use a public Wi-Fi to file your taxes or access online banking, only use networks you trust
Happy filing! For more information on what you can do to keep yourself or your business protected online, visit our cybersecurity services page.