Cyber-crime is on the increase across the globe, and it can be a nightmare for anyone who uses computers, when their tax information is accessed. If their sensitive information is hacked into then there are high chances of one being robbed by hackers and other fraudsters.
According to the FBI they have received over 300,00 cyber-crime complaints from individuals who have fallen victim to cyber-crime. The type of information that is mostly affected by cyber-crime is contained in tax returns for individuals such as the social security numbers. The Federal Trade Commission cyber-crime cost consumers an estimated cost of more than $50 billion per year according to Mashable.
Individuals should make sure that they protect their tax information on-line so that they don’t fall victim to cyber-crime. There are applicable ways that individuals can use when using a computer to fill in their tax returns information and these are mentioned below.
1. The security software on the computer should be updated regularly, the computer should be patched and protected with the latest security software. The software should be able to shield the computer systems against viral attacks and from hackers who can easily access on-line tax information when a computer lacks an update security system.
2. One should make sure that they transmit their tax forms through the snail mail or deliver it directly to its destination. Another method one can use is by burning their information onto CD or saving them onto a removable drive to avoid any use of paper.
3. All email attachments that have tax information should be encrypted and password protected. It is important for an individual to set up a strong security system that can not be cracked by cyber criminals. The password can then be passed onto to the recipient verbally or over the phone. It is also crucial for an individual to remind the person with whom they share the computer, to continually update the security systems. It is also wise not to open any mail from unidentified sources, because many of these types of mail normally have viruses that can crawl into a computer and copy passwords and any other data that can be used by cyber criminals.
4. Cross check with the person who helps prepare the tax, the person should follow the U.S Government tax data security measures in place. When using a tax preparation software one has to check out the reviews on the site selling the software and see how it has been performing by reading comments posted by other users.
The individual should also be careful not to share information with other people. This means that one can not be careless and leave their tax documents page open while away from their computer for all to see, since this is confidential information it has to be guarded against viewership from outsiders.