BBB has some tips for 2018 tax season

Posted at 9:05 AM, Nov 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-27 11:05:36-05

Better Business Bureau is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service and other national and statewide organizations to announce National Tax Security Awareness week, kicking off Mon., Nov. 27 and continuing through Fri., Dec. 1. Emily Valla from the BBB has some tips.
    We encourage both individual and business taxpayers to take steps to protect their tax data and identities in leading up to the 2018 tax filing season. Fraudulent tax filings are a big deal-and very inconvenient if you find yourself a victim. More than 145 million Americans have had their names, addresses, and Social Security numbers compromised in data breaches, and no one knows yet how cybercriminals plan to use the data.

One of the most common ways for cybercriminals to steal bank account information, passwords, credit cards or Social Security numbers is to simply ask for them. Every day, people fall victim to phishing scams that cost them their time and their money.

    Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to solicit personal, tax or financial information by posing as a trustworthy organization. Often, recipients are fooled into believing the phishing communication is from someone they trust. A scam artist may take advantage of knowledge gained from online research and earlier attempts to masquerade as a legitimate source, including presenting the look and feel of authentic communications, such as using an official logo. These targeted messages can trick even the most cautious person into taking action that may compromise sensitive data.
    We say it almost every week-watch what you're doing online. Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and will automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on computers. Use strong passwords.
    Protect personal data. Don't routinely carry Social Security cards, and make sure tax records are secure. Don't email sensitive information, and shred old documents. Treat personal information like cash; don't leave it lying around.
    Better Business Bureau has a number of resources to help you protect your identity and money. Find more at