Tax season is upon us and many of us are scrambling to meet the deadline for filing. And not surprisingly, more and more people are filing their taxes electronically. Approximately six out of every ten taxpayers filed online in 2008 and this number is expected to increase in 2009. There are many sites enabling taxpayers to file their taxes online for free. But how do you protect yourself from online fraud, scams, and phishing attacks?!
Here are some easy to follow tips:
1. Be skeptical of emails that feature Web links. Those links can be part
of a phishing scam that takes you to look-alike Web pages designed to
steal your sensitive personal information, from Social Security Numbers
to credit card account information. If you need to log-in, do so
independently and through the usual log-in Web page -- not by clicking
on a link.
2. When you go to file your taxes, make sure you've reached the correct
site. One easy way is to look for the green address bar that is used
today by leading tax filing sites. The green address bar, which is
recommended by the IRS, is displayed on sites protected by EV SSL
Certificates. Don't see the green address bar? Make sure you are using
the latest version of your Web browser.
3. Make sure you're entering your personal information in a secured
session by looking for https://
4. When you finish your taxes, be sure you've logged out of your session.
If you don't log out, fraudsters can potentially log-in to your session
after you leave the site.
5. Do not respond to any tax issues or requests using fax. A recent email
scam received by hundreds of taxpayers called for a fax with personal
information to be sent back to "the IRS." The IRS will never request
personal information via fax.