So, we are nearing the end of Tax Season 2017. As we become more paperless each year, more and more tech savvy Landlords prefer to file their taxes online. That means we need to become more aware of the online risks. Especially when it comes to the stealing of sensitive information and how easy it can be to protect yourself.
Whenever you surf the Internet or read an email, you should always take caution of where you are “virtually.” There are bad neighborhoods in every city and those same places exist online. It is becoming harder for online criminals, so now they create areas hoping you come to them. According to Internal Revenue Service statement, in 2016 criminals used malware in an attempt to create E-file pins with personal information, including social security numbers stolen outside the agency. This malware is typically installed from an email file that an unsuspecting recipient opened and installed on their computer.
If there are parts of town you would not walk alone at night, than you too should take caution about places you go online. Don’t just assume anywhere you go is safe and everything sent to you should be opened. Know which sites you are familiar with and those you aren’t. If it is a site you have never been before then go forward cautiously. Don’t blindly click “ok” when you see something “pop-up” on your screen. It could be asking to install malware and you saw it as annoying, so clicked ok to get rid of it.
When you enter tax websites, make sure that the website is secure. You can check it in the URL bar, click on the symbol (it appears in the beginning of the website and says “SECURE”). If it doesn’t then proceed to another website.
Before clicking links in your emails, hover over it and make sure the URL of the company is correct and if possible don’t click the email link, but go directly to the website in a browser.
If the sender is unfamiliar or the the message has poor grammar it has a high probability of being fraudulent - delete it and don’t open any attachments.
When downloading attachments, run an AV scan on the object before executing or double-clicking
If you are using a cloud software to store accounting or other secure information, make sure it has a secure protocol (for example such software as TenantCloud.com uses 256-bit encryption through SSL and treats users information in the strictest confidence and stores it in highly secure AWS data centers.)
Hope these tips will help you to stay secure during the Tax season.