During tax season, electronically preparing and filing tax returns may make businesses more vulnerable to cybercrime. Tax-related scams are one of the most common types of fraud committed against businesses and individuals. Cybercriminals are constantly devising new ways to steal sensitive financial information in order to commit tax identity theft and other crimes.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your business from the professional and financial consequences of cybercrime. Follow these five best practices to help secure your sensitive information at tax time.
- Protect Passwords
If your business relies on electronic filing or other online tools, keeping your login credentials secure is critical. Use a unique password for each of your accounts, and be sure to follow the IRS password recommendations. Also, consider storing your passwords in a secure digital password manager. Do not write them down. Also, utilize multi-factor authentication if your online tools offer this option.
- Connect Securely
Never rely on public internet connections to file your tax returns or transmit other sensitive data. Send financial information only through websites you trust, and make sure they offer an encrypted connection with “HTTPS.” Also, be sure to keep your computer’s security software and operating system are updated, rely on a popup blocker, and change the default password on your Wi-Fi router.
- Use Private Browsing
If you send financial information online, take advantage of the private browsing feature available on most popular internet browsers. Using this feature prevents your computer from storing your search history, temporary internet files, or other information, helping to keep unsecured financial data off your computer.
- Safeguard Financial Information
Be careful about how and where you store your business’s paper and electronic financial documents. Keep paper tax returns, W-2s, and other important documents locked away, and shred any sensitive documents you no longer need. If you keep tax and financial files on your computer, use an encryption application to password-protect them.
- Know Tax Scams
Being aware of new forms of cybercrime is one of the best ways to avoid falling victim to them. Refer to the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” list of scams, published annually to help taxpayers understand phishing scams and other forms of fraud. Also, keep in mind that the IRS will never contact you electronically or by phone to ask for sensitive information like your employer identification number, Social Security number, or bank information.
At Sun National Bank, we’re committed to helping you guard against fraud and data theft – during tax season and year-round. To learn how we protect your personal and financial information, plus more important ways to keep your business safe from cybercrime, visit our Security Center.