It’s April 11 and you know what that means – only four more days until Tax Day (dun-dun-dun)! If you’ve waited until the last minute to file your taxes, it’s time to get moving! But don’t be too hasty, it’s important to be careful because there are criminals up to no good who will be trying to take advantage of your situation.
During tax season, there are numerous tax scams to look out for and being cautious will help you avoid being a victim. The IRS has releasing its list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams of 2014 to help consumers. If you haven’t seen it already, we recommend you check it out.
Online Safety Tips
In addition, we’d like to remind those filing their taxes online to be extremely cautious. Here are eight tips to help you do so:
- Identify your e-filer on IRS.gov. Submit your zip code to see a full list of authorized e-filers that are registered at IRS.gov.
- Create a strong password. A strong password is recommended for any site you visit that requires personal information. Tax forms are sensitive and include your Social Security Number, financial information and more.
- Do not use a public computer to file your taxes. Public computers, no matter how well-maintained, are at risk of being infected by viruses, spyware and keyloggers that steal sensitive data.
- Do not respond to emails regarding taxes. Tax-related emails are often “phishing” for personal information. Do not be fooled by an email stating it’s from the IRS – the IRS doesn’t contact people by email.
- Do not download documents regarding taxes. This is yet another possible “phishing” tactic. By attempting to a download an attachment or file found in an email, you can inadvertently install a virus, spyware, or keylogger onto the computer.
- Do not click on links in tax-related emails. Links are another possible form of phishing.
- Beware of tax-related messages on social media. E-mail with downloads and links may be the most common method of digital tax scams, but social media platforms are also being used today for malicious acts. Be wary of messages from friends that contain links about taxes.
- Do not store your tax information on your hard drive. Finally, when you have completed your taxes, do not store the files and information on the hard drive. Should the computer be infected by a virus, that information could possibly be obtained. Store your tax files on an external source.
We, along with the IRS, would like to remind everyone to show caution this tax season. Whether you’re filing your own taxes or having someone else prepare them, practice online caution. For more information about federal taxes, please visit www.irs.gov.
We hope everyone gets through filing their taxes smoothly. And try to spend your tax return wisely!