News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on February 15, 2021

It’s the least favorite time of the year: tax season. Criminals take advantage of the general public’s uneasiness about paying taxes to try to steal as much money as they possibly can. According to a 2019 report by the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, phishing (or tricking people into offering personal information) cost victims over $57 million.

While not all phishing scams attempts look the same, they are all intended to compromise your personal information to steal your money. Here is part 2 of what you should know about how the bad guys operate:

3. Get savvy about the risks of public Wi-Fi hotspots

A potential scammer can use an open WiFi network to access software which can duplicate or steal your data. You should never file your tax returns electronically over a public network - and it’s important to secure financial information on your hardware. 

There are ways you can keep your personal information safe. When filing your taxes by yourself, you should never store your social security number online, and keep it private. If your printer stores data, wipe it after printing tax documents that notate your social security number.

4. Turn on multi-factor authentication

The IRS recently announced that multi-factor authentication, a process where users need to verify their identity in two separate ways (and often, on two separate devices), is now available on all 2021 tax prep products.

This is good news: scammers can use various ways to get access to your passwords. The multi-factor authentication can help because it can block the bad guy’s ability to get the required security code to get access to your account.

Also, know how the IRS will contact you: the IRS will not engage with taxpayers to request their financial or personal information via social media, emails or text messages. If you owe money to the IRS, they will send an official letter or bill outlining any action you need to take.

Source: Yahoo Life