(Redmond, WA, Thursday, March 14, 2019) – It’s tax season and while most are focusing on filing on time, cyber criminals see this time of year as a perfect opportunity to steal people’s personal information. You don’t need to be an accountant to safely file your taxes this season. Microsoft put together tips on how to prevent becoming victim to these scams.
- Don’t rely on passwords alone: Using two-factor authentication tools enables biometric authentications like your face/fingerprint to quickly and safely log in across devices, apps and browsers without you having to remember passwords. Try the Microsoft Authenticator app for managing your Manage Service Account logins and Windows Hello for easy and secure sign-in to your Windows 10 device.
- Watch for suspicious emails. Be suspicious of all links and attachments, especially when the email seems “off” or unexpected. For example, you should hesitate if you receive suspicious links or attachments from your credit card company, or financial institution. In these cases, you can apply additional scrutiny to links and attachments like double checking directly with the institution before opening or downloading an attachment.
- Carefully inspect URLs. Hover over links to inspect whether or not the URL is the website you’re expecting. URL shorteners provide a lot of convenience but can make this inspection difficult. If you’re unsure, rather than clicking a link, use your search engine to go to the website you’re looking for and log in from there.
- Be wary of any attachments. If you haven’t just made a purchase for tax software, for example, don’t be fooled by getting an email with a fake invoice from a tax preparation company – this is one of the top methods attackers use to trick people. Unwanted attachments could also contain links that download and execute malicious programs. There have been cases where PDFs that contain innocent looking links lead to users accidentally downloading malicious software designed to steal their credentials.
- Keep software current. Run a modern operating system, like Windows 10, with the latest security and feature updates, in tandem with built-in anti-virus protection, such as Windows Defender Antivirus.