Tax Season Can Be a Safe Online Experience; Just Follow These Simple Rules


March 22, 2023

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Tax Season Can Be a Safe Online Experience; Just Follow These Simple Rules

Tax season is a period of about four months in which US taxpayers have to file their income tax returns. The process routinely attracts criminals trying to trick people into sharing their financial information and other personal details, often leading to identity compromise and fraud.

Almost 170 million federal returns are filed yearly, and people usually have to file taxes using personal information online or on paper. Given that criminals will go to great lengths to obtain information of far less value, like an email address or Facebook account, you can imagine the allure tax season presents to attackers.

Not all victims are hit in the same way. Some might receive a phishing email telling them they haven’t filed their documents properly. Others claim that the taxpayers are eligible for substantial deductions, and some could even call on your phone, identifying themselves as IRS agents. No matter the ruse, the targets remain the same: money and personal information that could be used down the line for identity theft.

Simple rules for a safe tax season

  • Take great care with the information you post online through social media websites and other channels. Criminals posing as IRS agents may use it to give the impression that they work for the government.
  • File taxes as early as possible. This achieves two things. Firstly, any scammer trying to file a fake tax return using details obtained from the victim won’t be able to do so. Secondly, as tax season progresses, more and more criminals try to take advantage of the urgency.
  • Any messages from tax preparers and intermediaries that promise refunds and gains are likely fraudulent.
  • Always check the URL in your browser to ensure you’re on the IRS website and not on a clone designed to steal your information.
  • Like in many other countries, institutions such as the IRS don’t threaten taxpayers, issue ultimatums, or attach urgency to the message. Furthermore, never provide your financial information over the phone, as the IRS will never ask taxpayers for it.
  • Protect your Social Security number (SSN) at all costs and ensure that you only enter it on the official IRS website or that you provide it only to accredited third parties.
  • Use a security solution on all of your devices, mobile and desktops. Taxpayers can prevent phishing attacks and stop malicious messages before they can become a problem.

Running Bitdefender Total Security on desktop PCs and laptops can solve most of these problems. In this way, you don't have to worry about clicking on the wrong link or opening a malicious message. The security solution will ensure you can go about your day without worrying about cyber criminals.




Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between.

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