By Doctor Security
Yes, my fellow Americans, it’s the time of year we all love…April 15 is the deadline to file our income tax returns.
In the old days, like in 1990 B.I. (Before Internet), people used to stand in awfully long lines at post offices just to get their envelopes post marked to avoid the late payment penalties accessed by the IRS.
That was so last century. Now, you can electronically file (e-file) your return from the comfort of your own home. You can even e-file for free with a service appropriately called “Free File.” For all of you out there who are taking advantage of e-filing, please be cautions of identity thieves who prey on online convenience. Last year, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, identified more than 23,000 incidents in which fraudulent tax returns were filed through Dec. 31, 2008. That said, the Internal Revenue Service even issued its 2010 “dirty dozen” list of tax scams, including schemes involving return preparer fraud, hiding income offshore and phishing.
To avoid being the next victim, electronically savvy taxpayers should follow a few simple rules:
v Internal Revenue Service would never request personal information online such as your Social Security number, birth date, or a bank account number
v Beware of phony e-mails, Web sites, tweets or Facebook messages. Most of you know but the official IRS Web site is www.irs.gov
v If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
v You should have security software from a known and respected vendor like Check Point to ensure none of your personal, financial, and income tax info falls into the hands of hackers or cybercriminals