It’s almost that time of year again… Uncle Sam will soon expect you to file your tax return. Unfortunately, scam artists and hackers enjoy this time of year, because they are aware that plenty of crucial data will be shared online. With many business owners filing their taxes digitally, it’s a prime opportunity to take advantage of the anxiety and rush of tax season.

Take these steps to protect yourself online, all year, but particularly during tax season.

Don’t send personal information via unsecured email. Keep in mind that even if your system is well protected against malware and viruses, the email recipient might not take the same precautions. So, anything you send over email could potentially be seen by the wrong person. Hackers target CPAs at this time of year, so if your accountant emails asking for some additional information, supply that data in person or over the phone.

Don’t trust email attachments. Since hackers are targeting CPAs, it is possible that an infected email account could send out very realistic attachments to all of their clients. Before opening an attachment from your CPA, ask yourself whether you were expecting anything from him/her. Better yet, pick up the phone and give them a call before opening an unexpected email attachment.

Don’t follow email links. Let’s say you receive an email from your tax preparation service, instructing you to follow a link and sign into your account in order to view important updates… Don’t follow that link! Open a new tab in your browser, and proceed to the login page if you want to check on your filing status. Sometimes these emails are very convincing phonies, created with the purpose of tricking you into supplying your login information.

Use safe websites and/or tax preparation software. If you choose to file your taxes yourself, use a reputable tax preparation service. Look for the lock symbol and “https://” in the address bar of their website, if you’re filing taxes online. If you use software, choose a highly rated one, and check on its safety protocol. The tax preparation company, or software company, should be liable for any data breaches. Consider that when comparing the price points of various services; more protection is always better.

Communicate with employees. As always, remind employees of these rules, particularly regarding email attachments. Your assistant should know that any email communication with your CPA should be handled by you personally.

As for securing your own network against risks, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH. We can check your system and make sure that you have the latest and best protection in place.