Tax Season Alert- Ways to Protect Against W-2 Theft

Planning to file your income tax? Beware; as the eyes of the cyber criminals are praying for your crucial personal data. No doubt taxes are a certain thing and everyone is aware of this. By taking the advantage of this season, attackers or the hackers are finding new means for stealing your personal detail that you would be or have entered for tax purpose. Ranging from the phishing scams to the physical theft, McAfee Activate, the leading American global computer security software company has observed the exploitation of W-2 becoming a major threat as tax season is underway.

McAfee has also observed the same threat situation last year as well. In the past week, the company has figured out a deceptive phishing attack on the personal information of 100 Waldo country employees in Maine. It all started with a cybercriminal asking a country official for the confidential employee information, incorporate W-2 forms and the most important and crucial ones, i.e. SSN or Social Security Numbers.

Easily betrayed, an employee then sent over the data and with the result of which Waldo Country employees were have to face the potential identity theft. Not just this, the company has also seen the same attacks or phishing scams earlier in 2018 as the City of Pittsburg was attacked by a phishing scheme in which an employee was betrayed and he was end up providing the W-2 information of both the current as well as the previous employees.

W-2 theft is not only happening in the digital world, there are chances that the attackers may shift to physical mailboxes and check those in the hope of finding the envelopes that may have W-2 forms. Even the authorities in the Minnesota have already warned the residents to be aware of such activities with their mails.

Digital or physical, in both the cases, you need to be extra alert and find the ways to protect against the W-2 theft. To protect your personal identities, follow these tips:

  1. File the tax as soon as possible- The best way to get protected against the tax season frauds or phishing scams is to access the W-2 forms and file the tax as soon as possible. The more quickly you do, the less likely your data is vulnerable for such attacks.
  2. Get a copy of your credit report- Every individual is entitle to have a free copy of his/her credit report from almost all the major bureaus once a year. So, pay attention on the same and request a copy of your file every quarter. Requesting the same from different credit bureau every time is a great idea. This would also help you keep a better track of the suspicious activities that might cause a big loss, if not monitored within the right time.
  3. Be alert from the phishing scams- Phishing is the primary source the cybercriminals use to steal the personal information and then money, ultimately. So, it is recommended to be alert of such attacks. If you receive any unfamiliar or suspicious email from any unauthorized source asking you for the tax data, double check for their authenticity before you revert them. Keep in mind that the IRS only contacts people by snail mail!
  4. Choose an identity theft protection solution- To protect your personal information and identity, adopt any reliable solution such as McAfee Activate Identity Theft Protection, which ensures the users about the protection of their identity (both personal and financial).

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