Top 5 Data Security Tips for eFiling Your Taxes

1. Only use reputable tax software.

Know exactly who you are dealing with. The IRS has a program called Free File that uses brand-name software produced by companies who make their products available through the IRS.

Watch out for fake tax filing websites that exist solely to harvest your sensitive, personal information.

2. Be on the lookout for phishing scams.

Online scammers are extremely professional in what they do best – scam others. Be sure to delete all emails that claim to be from the IRS or your bank, even if they look legit. Don’t be fooled by a scammer’s tactic of producing pixel-perfect copies of official emails. And, do not click on any links within the email.

Contact your bank to verify that a specific email is indeed from the institution.

3. When using your computer to prepare your taxes, be sure to secure your data as well as your network.

Before preparing your taxes, make sure you have installed and activated the most up-to-date anti-malware software, and access your local network to make sure there are no unauthorized network shares.

Also, be sure to enable WPA on your wireless router because WEP can be easily hacked.

4. Put up a good fight against cyber intruders by updating your security.
  • Upgrade your security software;
  • Update malware definitions;
  • Apply all patches; and
  • Keep plug-ins fresh, especially from Java and Adobe.
5. Be sure to backup your data.

Consider the following secure backup ideas:

  • Flash drive – lock in a safety deposit box.

  • Cloud network

  • Local network storage

Top Tip: Whatever electronic device you use to file your taxes, (iPhone, Android, lap top, iPad, desktop computer, etc.) make sure to effectively delete all data when replacing it with a new device, in the event sensitive data is stored or hidden somewhere on it.

For more tax tips for 2013, please visit “Tax Tips for 2013 from the IRS.”

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