Things to watch out for during tax season

Most people look forward to their refunds to pay for a nice vacation or pay off some debt. But when filing your taxes online, there are a number of ways you can lose that refund to the bad guys who are waiting for you to make a mistake.

Fred Touchette, senior security analyst at AppRiver, offers the following tips for filing taxes online:

1. Phishers will attempt to contact taxpayers via email. The IRS will never initiate contact with a taxpayer through email.

2. The IRS will never ask you for PIN numbers or credit card information in an email.

3. Never click on a link, or an attachment, from an unsolicited email.

4. You should never conduct unsecured transactions that include any account or password information over public hotspots including airports, hotels, libraries, restaurants, cafes, or other locations that offer free WiFi.

5. Always and completely log out of sensitive sites. It is possible for an attacker to hijack a session that has been left open.

6. Do not file online using the same computer that your kids do. A good portion of online scams and spam target today’s younger generation of Internet users.

7. Remain vigilant and try to use simple logic – if it seems too good to be true, and it is sitting in your inbox, delete it. Especially if it is from someone you did not initiate contact with.

8. Before entering sensitive information into a website, look for the security padlock symbol.

9. Create strong passwords. Choose passwords that are complex and utilize a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

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