It’s that time of year — tax season is officially underway.
Everyone in the country has either already filed or is busy preparing to file their yearly taxes. While there’s always a chance for fraud or identity theft on some level, this year is shaping up to be particularly concerning for U.S. citizens.
The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), a sub-section of leading data and information security risk insurer Munich Re, just released a new study focusing on the topic of tax fraud and identity theft. It found that 67 percent of the U.S. population has major fraud and identity theft concerns this year. Of those surveyed, research also showed about a quarter reported having their identity stolen in the past, which gives just cause for current concerns.
Munich Re’s U.S. cyber and privacy risk practice leader, Eric Cernak, commented on the type of insurance claims that cause the most work and how smart devices may be to blame for some of the fraud or identity theft issues. “Tax fraud is a leading cause of the identity theft insurance claims that we receive,” he said. “As more consumers file their taxes online, they should update security protections on computers, Wi-Fi networks and connected devices.”
One of the main factors researchers found that contributes to these concerns is exposure to cybercriminals through 37 percent choosing to file their taxes online or in a mobile app. Another reason for concern is correlated to age — as people grow older, their worries over fraud or identity theft increases.
While there will likely always be some level of risk when it comes to anything concerning finances, online options may not be the best route for taxes. To help decrease the risks, it’s a safer bet to see an accountant in person to file taxes.