Online fraud is a common crime that is continuing to grow. With the tax season approaching, filing online may have crossed your mind. With an influx of cybercrime, it is important to take certain precautions to keep your information safe when filing your taxes online.
At CMIT Solutions of Pittsburgh South, we have put together some tips on keeping your personal information safe from cyber criminals this tax and beyond.
How Can Cybercriminals Target my Online Tax Filing?
As new avenues open up, cybercriminals are finding plenty of new ways to target consumers. An example includes: During tax season, as you file your taxes, you may notice that someone has already filed your returns for the year. This can happen if someone has filed a tax return using your Social Security number. The refund you were expecting to receive may have already been received by a cybercriminal.
When you file your taxes correctly online, there are a variety of benefits of filing from the comfort of your home.
How do I Safely File My Return Online?
We’ve put together a few precautions and tips to help you protect your online data and privacy while filing your return.
Utilize Security Software
You should install and run internet security on all of your devices. If you don’t use security software to protect your computer and your devices, then this allows cybercriminals to take advantage of your security vulnerabilities and access your personal information such as your bank account information, W-2 form, or Social Security number. With these details in hand, a cybercriminal will have the ability to file a tax return in your name.
Beware of Free Services
Keep Your Software Updated
Never ignore your software updates. Check to make sure your device is up to date with the latest version of its operating system before you file your taxes. It is also crucial to update all out-of-date software on your devices. This will make sure you are current and protected against threats.
Use a VPN when Using Public Wi-Fi
It is best to avoid using public Wi-Fi when filing your taxes online. If you have to use public Wi-Fi, be sure to use a virtual private network (VPN) to prevent someone from viewing your online activity and personal information.
Use Strong Passwords
You should be using strong passwords on all your devices. You also want to make sure that you are using different passwords for each account. Strong passwords will include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Using a password manager can help you securely store your passwords so you can reference them as needed.
Back up Your Data
Take the time to back up your data on an external hard drive, and then be sure to delete all of your tax-related information on your device once the return is filed.
Check the Site for Encryption
When searching for an online tax filing service, you want to be sure to use one that has SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. If the site uses SSL, you will see a padlock icon in your browser, and the URL will begin with HTTPS rather than HTTP.
Keep Cyber Safety in Mind Daily
Tax season requires special precautions, but these can also be applied all year round to keep your data safe. Keep an eye out for fraudulent emails claiming to be from the IRS, phishing messages, and unsolicited email attachments that can infect your device with malware. Be cautious of whom you give your personal information to and keep up with your security to ensure your devices remain protected.
Professional Cyber Security Services
At CMIT Solutions of Pittsburgh South, we can help your business manage cybersecurity and keep your company data safe from cyber-attacks. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive security services and how we can keep your valuable data safe.