It’s the most taxing time of the year! That’s right…it’s tax season which means it’s time to start looking at that stack of documents that’s been piling up on the kitchen counter since early January. Unfortunately, while you’re doing the tricky work of making sense of all of the dollars and cents you made during the previous year, fraudsters may be looking to make you their next victim. According to the IRS, scams like phishing, identity theft, and phone calls tend to increase during tax season which means you need to take every precaution to keep your information safe.
At SparkPost, we take security, privacy, and compliance very seriously and want to help you apply security best practices to every facet of your life. That’s why we’ve put together this nifty list of tips and tricks you can use to lower your risk of tax identity theft this tax season:
File your tax returns as soon as possible.
As soon as you have your tax documents, file your return. This will help to prevent an identity thief who may already have your personal info and filing your taxes on your behalf.
Place a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit file.
This will require creditors to take extra steps in verification before they issue credit on your behalf. (This service is free to request and to have removed).
Protect your personal identifying information.
Leave your Social Security cards and Individual Taxpayer Identification cards at home in a safe and secure place. Protect your personal computers and email accounts with firewalls and anti-virus software.
Choose a trusted tax preparer.
When choosing a tax preparer online or in person, do your research. Be aware of preparers who promise a larger refund or who charge more fees based on the size of your refund.
Additional tax season warnings
Remember to be aware of online impersonation scams known as “phishing”. Voice impersonation is called “vishing.”
Robo-calls, aggressive or urgent demands, threats of arrest or other dire consequences are examples of scams to be on the lookout for during this time.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be the IRS, you are likely getting “vished”. The IRS will never demand immediate payment or threaten you with imprisonment over the phone.
The IRS will never initiate contact regarding a tax bill owed via email. Do not click links claiming to be the IRS.
We hope you apply our security best practices and have a stress-free tax season!