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01
Dec
2020
10 Security Steps to Help Protect You During Tax Season

10 Security Steps to Help Protect You During Tax Season

Don't second guess if your client's information is protected or not - feel confident that it is!

Every tax practitioner whether they are a member of a major accounting firm or an owner of a one-person storefront is a potential target for highly sophisticated, well-funded and technologically adept cyber criminals around the world.

Their objective: to steal your clients’ data so they can file fraudulent tax returns that better impersonate their victims.

Their tactics: to trick you into giving up computer passwords, e-Services passwords, to steal your EFINs or CAF numbers or even to take remote control of your entire computer system.

Electronic data management systems, client portals, and cloud-computing systems foster an ease of doing business. However, records maintained by firms must remain confidential because of professional standards, statutes, and regulations governing record retention. Data breaches can happen in numerous ways, including the following: a lost or stolen device, hacking, fraud, improper disposal of data, and errant email messages. It may be only a matter of time until you face a similar breach.

Here's 10 basic steps everyone should remember during the holidays and as the 2021 tax season approaches:

1. Don't forget to use security software for computers and mobile phones – and keep it updated.

2. Make sure purchased anti-virus software has a feature to stop malware, and there is a firewall that can prevent intrusions.

3. Phishing scams – like imposter emails, calls and texts – are the No. 1 way thieves steal personal data. Don't open links or attachments on suspicious emails. This year, fraud scams related to COVID-19 and the Economic Impact Payment are common.

4. Use strong and unique passwords for online accounts. Use a phrase or series of words that can be easily remembered or use a password manager.

5. Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Many email providers and social media sites offer this feature. It helps prevents thieves from easily hacking accounts.

6. Shop at sites where the web address begins with "https" – the "s" is for secure communications over the computer network. Also, look for the "padlock" icon in the browser window.

7. Don't shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in places like a mall. Remember, thieves can eavesdrop.

8. At home, secure home Wi-Fis with a password. With more homes connected to the web, secured systems become more important, from wireless printers, wireless door locks to wireless thermometers. These can be access points for identity thieves.

9. Back up files on computers and mobile phones. A cloud service or an external hard drive can be used to copy information from computers or phones – providing an important place to recover financial or tax data.

10.Working from home? Consider creating a virtual private network (VPN) to securely connect to your workplace.

Read more about this topic at IRS.GOV site.

More questions or just need some advice? Feel free to contact us at navitend or call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today.  Book Now.

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navitend can help you. Call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today.

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    Bob Bradley, President, Bradley Graphics
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    Steve Van Ooteghem, The C12 Group in Houston, Texas
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    Lawrence Wolfin / Textol Systems, Inc.
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