Income Taxes – File Early to Beat the Hacker

The early bird gets the worm.  The second mouse gets the cheese.  The late tax filer gets nothing.  Why?  April is tax fraud time.  The best way to avoid losing your tax refund to a scammer is to file as early as possible, before the tax fraudster can get it done.  Having said that, this information would be more valuable in January than in April.  From US-CERT.

Tax Guidance as Deadline Approaches

03/30/2018 08:34 PM EDT  Original release date: March 30, 2018

As this year’s April 17 tax deadline approaches, NCCIC/US-CERT offers taxpayers guidance to help protect their personal, financial, and tax information. Hackers can take advantage of taxpayers by using social engineering scams to attempt to steal personally identifiable information. NCCIC encourages taxpayers to review the following resources and recommendations:

  • Avoid tax scams. Look for the telltale signs of tax scams:
    • emails that appear to come from your tax professional, requesting information for an IRS form
    • emails containing links to a supposed IRS website
    • bogus questionnaires claiming to be from the IRS or law enforcement agencies
    • calls where scammers leave urgent callback requests
  • Safeguard personal data.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Keep software updated.

If you believe you have been a victim of an IRS-related phishing attempt, visit the IRS’s page at https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing to report suspicious IRS-related communications.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity guru to business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area. Computer security and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. In 2013 I completed a course of study and certification exam to become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2016 I was certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of computer security, network security, and web site security. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. The views expressed on this Web site are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.

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