The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released the second in a series of tips intended to increase public awareness of how to protect personal and financial data online and at home. A new tip will be available each Monday through the start of the tax season in January, and will continue through the April tax deadline. US-CERT and the IRS recommend taxpayers prepare for heightened risk this tax season and remain vigilant year-round. The second tip focuses on awareness of phishing attempts and prevention of malware infection when conducting business online.
“Update your account now.” “You just won a cruise!” “The IRS has a refund waiting for you.” In the cyber world of phishing, the sentences are “bait” – lures from emails, telephone calls and texts all designed to separate you from your cash, your passwords, your social security number or your very identity.
The IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry to make sure you understand the dangers to your personal and financial data. Taxes. Security. Together. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Avoid suspicious phishing emails that appear to be from the IRS or other companies; do not click on the links- go directly to their websites instead.
- Beware of phishing scams asking you to update or verify your accounts.
- To avoid malware, don’t open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it contains.
- Download and install software only from websites you know and trust.
- Use security software to block pop-up ads, which can contain viruses.
- Ensure your family understands safe online and computer habits.
We encourages users and administrators to review IRS Security Awareness Tax Tip Number 2 for additional information.