Urgent scam warning for taxpayers during filing season – 10 ways the IRS wants you to protect yourself | #phishing | #scams


THE IRS urges taxpayers to protect themselves this tax season by using strong passwords and safeguarding their personal data.

More than 160million Americans are expected to file tax returns in total and IRS bosses warn of potential scams.

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The IRS encourages Americans to use strong passwords to avoid falling victim to scams and fraudCredit: Getty

The IRS has released a series of top tips to help taxpayers not fall victim to scams and fraud.

USE STRONG PASSWORDS

Taxpayers should use passwords that are easy to remember.

Americans should select around 12 characters and use a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols.

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Taxpayers should not use names, birthdates, or common phrases and avoid using the same password for sites.

KNOW RISKS OF PUBLIC WI-FI

Americans are warned that cybercriminals can try and steal information from public Wi-Fi networks.

Taxpayers should use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Even though connecting to public Wi-Fi is often convenient, it’s not always safe.

PROTECT PERSONAL INFORMATION

The IRS urges Americans to protect personal information such as Social Security numbers and credit card details like cash.

Taxpayers shouldn’t just hand out their personal information to anyone, the IRS revealed.

Personal information can be used to steal money or open new accounts without victims knowing.

BACK UP FILES

Taxpayers are advised to keep backup versions of their state and federal tax returns.

Paper copies of tax returns should be stored in secure locations.

Meanwhile, Americans should copy important documents onto removable disks or backup storage.

SAFEGUARD PERSONAL DATA

Americans should provide Social Security numbers when only necessary.

They should share personal information on sites that have been verified.

EDUCATE ABOUT ONLINE SAFETY

The IRS urges parents to teach youngsters about online safety so their data can be protected.

Users should not click on links or download attachments from suspicious links.

And Americans should be careful not to disclose too much information.

Bank accounts and Social Security numbers shouldn’t be shared freely.

USE SECURITY SOFTWARE

The IRS urges Americans to use an anti-virus program and always keep it up to date.

Security software can be updated automatically meaning it can be renewed as new threats emerge.

Antivirus programs can protect users from malware, spyware, and Trojans.

AVOID PHISHING SCAMS

The IRS urges taxpayers to look out for phishing scams.

They have been warned that cybercriminals may pose as the IRS asking for information.

If offers look too good to be true, then it probably is.

Americans should not download security software from pop-up ads.

SET PASSWORDS AND ENCRYPTION PROTECTIONS FOR WIRELESS NETWORKS

Users should set passwords for Wi-Fi networks otherwise it could allow hackers to steal information from devices.

Americans should also enable multi-factor authentication if it’s an option for a password-protected method.

MFA adds another layer of security and helps protect your password.

REVIEW ID THEFT CENTRAL

Tax-related identity theft happens when fraudsters steal your personal information such as your Social Security number.

If you fall victim to identity theft, Americans must continue paying their taxes and file tax returns.

Taxpayers should notify the IRS if they get a letter inquiring about a suspicious tax return.

Americans should also alert IRS officials if they cannot e-file their tax returns because of a duplicate Social Security number.

The deadline to file tax returns is April 18 this year.

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But, Americans are warned that the sooner they file the sooner they are to get their refund.

The IRS usually sends out 90 percent of refunds within 21 days after people file electronically and link their bank accounts.

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