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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - Almanac Vol. 59, No. 26
Keep Your Identity Safe When Filing Taxes This Year
Nothing takes the sting out of filing taxes as much as the convenience that comes with filing your returns electronically. It's anticipated that nearly 80% of all returns filed by Pennsylvania tax payers this year will be filed electronically with slightly higher rates in neighboring states like New Jersey and Delaware.
ThreatMetrix, a leading provider of cybercrime prevention solutions, has identified five precautions taxpayers can take to safeguard their accounts and identity while e-filing 1:
- Make Security Part of the Decision Process: Choose a tax preparation service or website that provides bank level security, such as two-factor authentication and anti-malware protection.
- Keep Your Eye on the Address Bar: Make sure any web form you submit is HTTP Secure. An easy indicator is an "s" found after "http" in a web address or a padlock icon typically found to the left of the web address. In addition, make sure the address of each page is a valid IRS or tax preparation website.
- Watch for Suspicious Emails and Pop-ups: If a cybercriminal suspects you are filing taxes online, they may send you a "phishing" email asking for additional personal information. Although these may look like authentic requests, do not respond. No legitimate bank or tax preparation service would ask a user to enter sensitive information into a pop-up screen or into a link provided via email.
- Safeguard Your Password: If you set up a username and password on an e-filing website, make sure your password is unique from that of any other personal accounts - especially social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. If your password is the same across multiple profiles and one gets compromised, all your accounts will be at risk.
- Update Your Devices: Even if you know the tax fraud facts and are cautious while e-filing, malware might still be on your computer to intercept data from legitimate websites. Update the anti-virus and malware detection software on any device on which you will enter tax information before you get started.
Exercising some caution when filing this year can help ensure that the only party collecting from you is the IRS.
1 Full article available at: http://threatmetrix.com/four-in-five-taxpayers-are-at-risk-of-identity-theft/