We just want to remind tax filers to be vigilant when taking phone calls from people claiming to be IRS workers or agents. IRS employee impersonations are on the rise, especially now – during tax season.
Online scams are extremely prevalent as well. Unsolicited e-mails or websites that resemble legitimate sites are designed to trick recipients and visitors into providing their personal and financial information. Recent examples include spammers spreading a computer virus by sending e-mails about IRS tax transcripts as well as random e-mails about errors on tax refunds that may appear to be plausible IRS emails.
More online fraud examples include posing as a bank, store or an executive at your place of employment, especially if you work at a large organization. Don’t respond and don’t delete the e-mail. If you get a tax-related phishing communication or an IRS impostor e-mail, forward it to the IRS phishing reporting site at https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing.
These are the basic tips we offer to keep your business and personal data secure and to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Keep top-rated antivirus security software on ALL of your electronic devices including tablets and mobile phones.
- Set your antivirus software to update automatically so you’re protected from the latest bugs.
- Use very strong passwords for online accounts. Long phrases can be remembered but are harder for hackers to breach.
- Use two-factor authorization whereever possible with a security code sent to your phone.
- Shop only at websites where the URL address starts with “https,” because the letter “s” means the computer network is certified as secure.
Lastly, we recommend using a secure cloud-based upload portal for sending all of your tax documentation to your accountant. Regular email is not considered secure enough for private or sensitive materials. We use Smartvault here at Collette Professional Accounting. Our clients find it very easy to use and it’s a much safer way to send personal information.