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Risk

4/8/2010
01:07 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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Tax Time Is Hacks Time -- Time To Be Wary!

Over the next week or so as you, and, odds are, more than a few others in your workplace are scrambling to make the April 15th deadline, bear in mind that there are plenty of scams hoping to catch and bilk you mid-scramble.

Over the next week or so as you, and, odds are, more than a few others in your workplace are scrambling to make the April 15th deadline, bear in mind that there are plenty of scams hoping to catch and bilk you mid-scramble.Just as you warn your employees to keep security in mind during holiday season online shopping, it's time to spread the word about tax season safety.

Whether preparing their own returns, working with an online service or still keeping everything in the paper and accountant world, there are a few things to keep n mind:

E-mails claiming to be from the IRS almost definitely aren't.

As the IRS itself puts it:

The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail. * The IRS does not request detailed personal information through e-mail. * The IRS does not send e-mail requesting your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts. * Report suspicious e-mails and bogus IRS Web sites to [email protected]

You'll likely find similar advice and scam reporting information on your state's Web site; worth sharing the addresses (and the advice) with your employees.

Not all the scams and con will come at employees via e-mail. There are plenty that want people to come to them (often via an e-mail link, admittedly).

McAfee reports that bogus IRS sites are through the roof, with more phony IRS urls this year than last. They note that many of the bogus sites turn up in search engine results, as well as in online tax forums.

Finally, don't neglect -- or let your employees neglect -- information security on their physical as well as digital desktops being particularly attentive to the security of:

Printouts and worksheets Personal information including social security, bank account and other financial information Receipts, payroll and payment stubs and other records

Tax prep software and other records and tools resident on company equipment should be kept as inaccessible to prying eyes (real and digital) as all other confidential and sensitive information on the system.

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