Cyber security tips for tax season

Published: Mar. 18, 2019 at 5:41 PM CDT
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One Sioux Falls woman was scammed out of thousands of dollars after a robocall posed as her friend.

These types of scams and various others are expected to ramp up especially during tax season.

Even though, you may want to answer that call and yell or mess with them. That's not always the best practice.

A study from the FCC found that in 2016 there were 2.4 billion robocalls made in the country alone. This year, don't expect tax-related robocalls to slow down until June.

The worst part is scammers can actually look like calls from your area whether Sioux Falls or Aberdeen.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself is not to answer calls you don't recognize. If the caller claims to be a company or a friend hang up and call them back at a number you do have to validate whether it was real or not.

Another option is to download an app to screen your calls.

"Verizon offers one that you pay a couple of bucks a month, and it's a call ID service," Chad Knutson, SDS Institute president, said. "So, any number calling you, it's going to attempt to look up who that's tied to, and I've noticed a lot of Robocalls it'll say on there this is identified as a robocaller or it'll say an unknown name. So, I usually ignore those that they have trouble identifying who's calling."

Besides your phone, your computer can actually fall victim to scams, as well.

Scammers have become crafty by pretending to be your bank, your tax company, or the IRS.

If you do receive an e-mail, the best practice is to call the company or your friend to check in. If there is a link embedded in the e-mail - even if it's secure - it doesn't necessarily mean it is safe.

The best practice is to do your research, use a search engine to look up the website or phone number yourself and make a call if you're not sure. Be sure to back up your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage, so any data doesn't get lost, and finally be sure to keep your security up to date.

If you do click on a link be sure to get it checked out - better safe than sorry.

"It could be something not very serious they could've been just trying to get you to provide them your password or something like that," Knutson said. "But, it may have installed something malicious on your computer. So, depending on how important that device is and what you feel might be at risk now. I would encourage them to their local IT place and have them look it over and make sure everything is okay."

You can always report any phishing e-mail or robocall to the FCC. The link is attached above in the related links section.

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