Cybersecurity is important year-round, but threats increase during Tax Season.
Learning cyber awareness, securing your data, and combatting identity theft can save you and your sensitive data in the future.
Secure your data
Your small business likely stores a lot of sensitive data on multiple devices – about your business and its finances, about yourself and your employees, and about your customers. Cybersecurity is all about securing this sensitive data.
Increasing your cybersecurity efforts often starts with purchasing new software for your devices, including:
- Anti-virus software
- Firewall software
Businesses typically have these pieces in place for their work in the office, but with more businesses working remotely, it’s critical that every device you use has this software – including your cell phones.
Many software companies offer all three solutions in one package, often called a suite, at reasonable prices. Purchasing this software is critical for your business’s cybersecurity throughout the entire year.
Use multi-factor authentication
To secure your online accounts, it’s best to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA can be used on devices, bank accounts, email accounts, file hosting accounts, social media accounts, and more.
The IRS said, “In 2021, all online tax preparation products for tax professionals will include an option for using multi-factor authentication.” This means your tax-related accounts will likely require MFA soon.
Combat identity theft
The easiest way you can combat identity theft is to be vigilant when it comes to identifying phishing attacks and suspicious activity.
According to the IRS:
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
If you receive a suspicious phone call or email, you can report it by emailing email@example.com.
Learn how to spot phishing attacks
Scammers can also target business owners using other, non-IRS-related phishing attacks. Scammers may act as a CPA, banker, or related professional.
According to Iconic IT, the phishing trends for the 2021 tax season include emails that contain:
- Requests for credentials
- Requests for bank account information
- Social Security Number “verification”
- Requests for dependents’ names and social security numbers
- Verification of employees’ tax information
If you receive an email with any of the above requests or anything similar, don’t click any links within the email, reply to the email, or forward the email to a coworker. You may want to investigate the legitimacy of the request. If you suspect fraud or a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
File Form 14039-B
If you suspect identity theft or foul play, it’s best to report it to the IRS using Form 14039-B, Business Identity Theft Affidavit.
According to the IRS:
Businesses should file the Form 14039-B if they receive a:
- Rejection notice for an electronically filed return because a return already is on file for that same period.
- Notice about a tax return that the entity didn’t file.
- Notice about Forms W-2 filed with the Social Security Administration that the entity didn’t file.
- Notice of a balance due that is not owed.
Filing early can prevent scammers from filing for you. Since the IRS only accepts one return per SSN or TIN, scammers will not be able to file using your information if you have already filed.
Start the filing process today. Create a free eFile360 account here.