Tax Day is April 15, and while many of us are currently rushing to file our tax returns, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of tax fraud. We’ve compiled some tips to help you avoid falling victim to fraud this tax season.
Do your homework.
When choosing a company to help you with your taxes, be sure you are working with a reputable organization. You can look at customer reviews or ask someone you trust for a recommendation.
Use strong passwords for all of your online accounts.
Whether you’re accessing Online Banking or a site for filing your tax returns, you should make sure your password is strong and not easily guessable. Additionally, if presented the option, take advantage of multi-factor authentication. This is an added layer of protection that could protect you if your password is stolen.
Monitor your mailbox.
If you are expecting your tax returns or any type of document with sensitive information in the mail, be sure to check your mailbox on a daily basis. If you’re going out of town for the weekend, ask a trusted neighbor or friend to monitor your mailbox for you.
Think before you click.
If you receive a suspicious email or website pop-up message, use your best judgment before clicking any links. Oftentimes, scammers create emails or pop-ups that look like they come from a legitimate source such as the IRS or a tax-related company so they can steal your personal data. Similarly, be wary of suspicious phone calls from scammers posing as the IRS and saying that you owe taxes. The IRS states on their website that they will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email, text or social media channels to request personal information. Click here to visit the IRS webpage dedicated to reporting phishing and online scams.
Shred documents that may include sensitive information.
Tax season is the perfect time for fraudsters to sort through your trash to try to find personal data such as your date of birth, address or Social Security Number, as many tax documents include this information. Be sure you carefully dispose of documents that include these details, not only during tax season, but at all times.
Keep these tips in mind as you finalize your preparations for tax day and plan for filing next year!