Love or hate tax season, there’s no escaping it, you’re required to complete your taxes and submit your information to the CRA. If you choose to go with an electronic option for filing, such as Intuit or TurboTax, it’s important to take a few simple steps to protect your personal information online so none of your information ends up in the wrong hands.
Protect your computer
Before you begin entering all of your personal information into your tax software of choice, be sure your anti-virus and firewalls are all up to date and functioning properly. You won’t want to risk anyone else being able to access the information that you’re entering. Using these tools can help you protect your computer from things like keystroke trackers which would be able to access your login information, passwords, and SIN numbers.
Watch out for scam emails
In addition to the sometimes-scary phone calls you might receive from someone pretending to be the CRA and threatening legal action, you may also encounter phishing emails designed to trick you into entering your personal information into an illegitimate website. While the CRA will send you emails if you’re signed up for My Account, they won’t ever ask you to send your personal email to them. If you receive a questionable email either navigate to the My Account portal or give the CRA a call directly through contact information you seek out yourself, not by responding directly to the questionable email.
Use a secure internet connection
While the idea of sitting down with a latte in your favorite coffee shop to work on your taxes might be tempting, by using a public Wi-Fi network you could be inadvertently exposing yourself, and your sensitive personal information, to people with nefarious intentions. It’s always safest to use a secure home network when you need to access sensitive personal information because the network will be more secure and less likely to have been compromised.
Store personal files properly
If you’re storing sensitive personal information on your computer, it’s worth looking at secure external hard drive options or password protecting the documents to help prevent someone from being able to access them if your computer was compromised. If you are printing off hard copies of your information be sure to file it in a secure and private part of your home, then when it is time to recycle the documents you’re no longer using, either shred them yourself or bring them to a secure shred facility where you know they will be disposed of in a secure way that will not leave your private information exposed for someone to access.
By following these simple tips you can help protect your personal information during tax season so you can worry less about identity theft and focus on getting your return filed with the CRA.