Wash. D.C. IR-2017-55
The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers to be cautious and protect personal, financial and tax information, particularly at tax time. This is the sixth in a series of 10 IRS tips called the tax time guide, designed to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues. This year’s tax filing deadline is April 18th. The IRS urges taxpayers to be safe online and reminds then to take steps to help protect personal information and guard against identity theft. This is true all year long, but particularly at tax time, when taxpayers may anticipate hearing about a tax refund or the status of their return.
“The IRS works year round to protect taxpayers against scams and identity theft,’ said John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner. “But we can’t do this alone. Taxpayers can do their part by taking certain precautions to stay ahead of these would be con artists.” Consult the tax time guide for help.
AVOID PHISHING SCAMS. The easiest way for criminals to steal sensitive data is to ask for it. Taxpayers should learn to recognize phishing emails, calls or texts that pose as familiar organizations such as banks, credit card companies, or even the IRS. Never download security software from a popup.
PROTECT PERSONAL DATA. Taxpayers should not carry Social Security cards with them or any documents that may include this number.
USE STRONG PASSWORDS. The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Use at least 10 characters: 12 is ideal for most home users. Mix letters with numbers, and special characters.
USE SECURITY SOFTWARE. Makes sure you have security software installed on your devices that connect to the internet. Many computers come pre-installed with firewall and into-virus protections. A good broad based anti malware program is also a must. Consult the tax time guide for questions about this topic.
BACK UP FILES. No system is completely secure. So back up all of your files, including making a copy of your federal and state tax returns and important documents. Again, consult the tax time guide if you have any questions.