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 analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Serving small business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area since 2001. Cybersecurity and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. I hold several cybersecurity certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Advanced Security Pratitioner (CASP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Other computer industry certifications include A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of security on their computers, networks, and websites. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. 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. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. I am a frequent speakers at cybersecurity conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference, the (ISC)2 World Congress, and the ISSA International Conference, and many local community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2008.
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