Four things to watch out for to avoid fraud this tax season

It’s tax season, which means it’s a great time for tips on how to protect yourself against fraud.

Shred-it, a company that provides information security, paper shredding and hard drive and media destruction services has identified several areas of risk and strategies to avoid getting scammed.

Document Retention

Businesses are sometimes unsure how long they should hold onto financial, employee and company data. This is especially crucial when it comes to taxes.

Here, Shred-it recommends a clear document retention policy to ensure that documents are destroyed in a timely fashion. Until they should be purged, documents should be stored securely or under lock and key.

Phishing Scams

Around tax season, identity thieves will try to impersonate government agencies, including the Canadian Revenue Agency or banks, and request sensitive information and credentials.

Businesses need to raise awareness around these kinds of scams among their employees and ask them to be suspicious of any such request.

Account or credential information should never be entered into a link from an email, even if the site appears like a credible source’s website. It is a best practice to navigate to a secure site from your bookmarks or by typing in the website directly.

Unsecure Documents

As documents are compiled from various sources, they can be left unsecured either digitally or physically.

Documents can be left on insecure devices or even left on printers to be swept away by staff or cleaners.

The solution, Shred-it says is implementing a clear desk policy and giving employees that handle sensitive information lockable storage units. Requiring employees to use a security code to complete a print job also ensures that confidential documents are not forgotten at printing stations.

Mobile Working

Preparing for tax season can result in employees having to work into the evening and weekends. With remote working, more confidential information is leaving the office.

Employees should take precautions when removing any data from their workplace. Phones and hard drives should be encrypted, and passwords must be implemented. Companies need to keep track of where all storage devices are at all times. If dealing with really confidential information, companies may need to limit the time and place that employees can work.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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