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Tax Season Tips for Keeping Personal Data Safe

brightnessFrom the Office of Safe and Secure Computing:

With tax season upon us, it is important to remember take steps to keep your personal information safe.  Follow these tips:

  • A number of scams seek to take advantage of the tax season.  Be on the lookout for phishing, malware, and phone scams.  See this IRS Advisory for specific information on current scams, and reporting ID theft and fraud.
    • the IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through email.
    • the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.”
  • Never email tax returns or forms containing your personal information unless you encrypt the email or attachments.  For information about sending sensitive information in email, see https://kweb.tri-c.edu/it/security/Documentation/Safe%20Computing%20at%20Work/Email%20and%20Sensitive%20Information.docx?Web=1
  • Choose your preparation carefully the IRS has some helpful hints at http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Choosing-a-Tax-Professional
  • Shred any discarded documents.
  • Before e-Filing, ensure your computer is free from malware.
  • Choose strong, unique passwords for websites containing financial or personal data as well as your email accounts.  Compromised email accounts can be used to reset passwords to other linked accounts.

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