5 Ways to Stay Safe on Tax Day

July 14, 2020
  1. Always use a secure browser. Anytime you’re inputting sensitive information such as a social security number and especially when filing, use a secure and up-to-date browser. I use FireFox, but there are a number of other options. Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s updated to the latest version.
  2. Never use public Wi-Fi. You should always follow this tip, but especially when filing taxes. Hackers will often set up fake networks or snoop on the traffic of legitimate ones to steal sensitive data, so don’t file your taxes  while working at the local coffee shop.  
  3. Set up two router networks. Many people don’t realize it, but most Wi-Fi routers can simultaneously host two networks. By keeping sensitive network activity on one network and personal activity on the other, you can prevent hackers from jumping from one to the other if one network gets breached. Filing your taxes on the sensitive network should help keep your transaction more secure.
  4. Demand cybersecurity precautions from your accountant or tax firm. The next time you visit your accountant or tax firm, ask about their cybersecurity practices. Ask about encryption, but don’t just settle for that. You’re paying a fee to get your taxes filed by a third party, so it’s important to ensure they’re investing in cybersecurity. Ask your accountant or tax firm if they’re practicing microsegmentation. With many tax professionals now working remotely and consulting via phone or video, make sure they have the proper security controls on the device used to process your tax return.
  5. Be vigilant. The cybercriminals often gather data used to file a false return before Tax Day. Be careful about what sites you’re visiting, which links you’re clicking, and where you’re inputting sensitive data. If something looks suspicious, stay away.
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