Maintain Security When Filing Taxes Electronically

How to maintain security when filing taxes electronically

Millions of U.S. taxpayers have used electronic software applications like TuboTax.com to e-file their taxes, many doing so from the home desktops. Roughly six percent more consumers are using this method of submitting tax forms, than the numbers who did so in 2012.

Though e-filing is convenient and easy, it can create a risk to the taxpayer, with the filing of fraudulent tax forms and and identity theft. These undetected thieves were able to get away with over three and a half billion dollars in 2011, according to the Inspector General.

The following tips for protecting your information and identity are offered by experts in internet security

Don’t assume all emails genuinely originated from the Internal Revenue Service!

One method of committing fraud is to send an email to the taxpayer, pretending to be the IRS. This form of gaining access, known as phishing, allows malware access to the user’s computer, to gain access to important taxpayer information. The emails can look like official requests from the government office and may claim some kind of problem with a social security number or taxpayer information. Many taxpayers have provided such information, unaware they are handing it over to an imposter.

The IRS never sends emails or text messages to taxpayers, to clarify personal identity or correct taxpayer information. Any person who receives a suspicious email message should forward it to the IRS, without opening the message itself or any attachment.

Keep Personal Information Safe

Aside from being aware of false email messages, taxpayers can take additional measures to protect personal data. Using a different password for electronic tax filing, from those used for other internet accounts, is one safeguard that makes it more difficult for cyber criminals to get your information.

Avoid sending tax files to the IRS in public locations where wireless internet is available. These connections a re open to all users and can be accessed by anyone, thus improving the changes of gaining access to an individual’s personal computer. Home networks that are password protected are best for sending tax forms.

Social networking sites like facebook are other places criminals hang out to gain personal information. If your site includes minor children, the thief now knows you claim dependents on the tax return, which allows them to make fictitious tax returns look more like the real thing.

Breaches in internet security are another cause for concern. The recent incidents with Target, Sony, and other retailers shows how easy it can be for cyber thieves to get account and personal address information.

No Refund

No Refund (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

Though these incidents can occur, the internet e-file process is generally secure. There are red flags to look for the keep your information safe. Filing Taxes using the e-file method and software such as TurboTax.com can make the tax filing process a much simpler ordeal that saves time and money.

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6 thoughts on “Maintain Security When Filing Taxes Electronically

  1. tscott815

    I have used Turbo Tax for the last several years as it tells me everything I need to do in easy step by step instructions. I also love that I can e file with just the click of a button plus print and save my documents as well.

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  2. sbstolk

    Since I work outside of the US and have to file taxes electronically, so this post was very helpful. It’s so easy to get complacent using WiFi (hello Starbucks!) and forget that pubic WiFi networks are not very secure, and an easy place for the unscrupulous to steal your personal info.

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  3. kscottsep91

    I really didn’t think about identity theft when I started filing taxes online until a friend of mine signed up for a makeshift turbo tax. She wasn’t paying attention to the domain name and it was .net instead of .com. Crazy what can be done. This was helpful.

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  4. anam

    Its a very informative article about paying taxes electronically in a secure way.The security measures given to address the online theft problem are amazing. I would like to see more of such articles in future.

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  5. Allin44

    Fantastic article. The bit about using a different password for electronic tax filing than you use elsewhere online was a great suggestion, and one that I had not yet thought of. Some really valuable information in here that will go a long, long way in helping ensure I am protected. Thank you!

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  6. sandraharriette

    It never ceases to amaze me just how easily people give in to scam messages in 2014. As much as it seems that everyone is savvy about the dangers of the digital age, especially ones that involve confidential info and data, there is always that one person who leaps without looking. I have been there. Can’t even fake.

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