Doing your taxes is the worst.
That being said, scam artists can turn tax day from a pain in the you-know-what into an all-out nightmare.
Your business, and its information, are prime victims for scam artists looking to poach some cash.
Let me tell you how to keep your business safe from fraud that could ruin not only your company’s reputation, but also its cash stores.
Scam artists developed new ways to get a hold of your tax documents.
It goes without saying that it can be very bad if sensitive forms like W-2s fall into the wrong hands.
What many people, especially business owners, don’t know is how easy it is for their information to leak outside of approved circles.
We’ve discussed email phishing before, and it’s one of the most common scam vehicles in today’s digital day and age.
Basically, someone who wants access to your information will create a false email account.
Often, the email address will be practically identical to one you’re used to seeing, like your employee or your assistant.
Catch the difference?
That missing ‘s’ could be the difference between a run-of-the-mill email conversation and a tax scam in your midst.
So how do you make sure your information stays protected?
Always ensure you confirm with an email sender verbally or through another form of communication before sending confidential or sensitive documents online.
If it can be avoided, you shouldn’t send those types of documents through email at all, but that’s not always feasible.
Scammers are looking for information they can exploit.
Most just want to open credit accounts or loans under another name.
Others may have even more nefarious scams up the sleeve.
To protect yourself and your employees, here are some steps you can take to keep that information private (the way it should be).
1. Always confirm the sender of the email.
2. Have a system in place to detect fraud.
3. Educate your employees on scam avoidance.
4. Refrain from sending sensitive information digitally.
Confirming the person who emailed you is who they say they are can go a long way in keeping names, addresses, social security numbers, and other personal information under wraps.
A simple text message saying, “Hey, did you ask for David’s W2?” can confirm if the request is legitimate.
Another measure you can take is discussing with your entire staff what to do in the case of a security breach.
Perhaps you’ll have a designated professional to contact, or simply a step-by-step guide of what to do now.
Informing your employees of common scam tactics can also protect your business. Instruct them not to open unknown emails or attachments, and to contact cybersecurity officials when necessary.
Lastly, the easiest way to avoid online tax scams is to refrain from sending tax information digitally.
Yes, the online programs meant to assist you during tax season can be life-savers, but when possible, it’s best to keep sensitive information off the Web.
I hope with these tips you can keep your next tax day as stress- and scam-free as possible.