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Security BUZZ - Navigating Security Risks During Tax Season

  • 1.  Security BUZZ - Navigating Security Risks During Tax Season

    Posted 03-01-2024 09:21

    Tax season is a heightened activity for taxpayers, accountants, and cybercriminals. As we prepare for tax returns, it's crucial to be aware of the security risks that come with this period. 

    Understanding the Risks

    • Phishing scams are one of the most common security risks during tax season. Cybercriminals often send emails posing as tax agencies or financial institutions to trick taxpayers into revealing sensitive information. These emails may contain links to fake websites designed to steal personal data.
    • Identity theft is another significant risk. Cybercriminals can use stolen personal information, such as Social Security numbers, to file fraudulent tax returns and claim refunds.
    • Malware attacks are also prevalent during tax season. Cybercriminals may use tax-themed emails to distribute malware that can steal information or damage your computer system.

    Stay alert

    • Be wary of unsolicited emails claiming to be from tax agencies or financial institutions. Legitimate organizations will never ask for sensitive information via email. 
    • Unexpected phone calls, texts, or letters claiming to be from tax agencies should be treated with caution. Always verify the source before providing any information. 
    • Filing tax returns or accessing sensitive information over unsecured networks (Open WI-FI) can expose your data to cybercriminals. Always use a secure network when dealing with sensitive information.


    • Ensure you're using reliable and up-to-date tax software. These programs often have built-in security features to protect your information. Go with well-known products.
    • Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification in addition to your password. IRS has been using filing PINs for several years now. 
    • Keep your devices and software updated. Regular updates often include security patches that protect against known vulnerabilities.
    • Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. Consider using a password manager to help you create and store complex passwords. Password-protect any files you save/store on your computer if you are using tax software.
    • Stay clear from discounted file returns (firms and websites), shady filing web sides ( nobody ever heard of)

    While tax season can be stressful, being aware of the potential security risks and protecting yourself can help ensure a smooth and secure process. 


    Genady Vishnevetsky
    Chief Info Security Officer
    Stewart Title Guaranty Company
    Houston TX
    ALTA Marketplace