New Tax Fraud Scam Reminds Us: Protect Your Social Security Number
and credit card breaches
have us all on the watch for our security, the most secure number in your inventory isn't your credit card number: It's your Social
Krebs on Security recently reported on a major break-in to a payroll software database and HR departments, specifically targeted to grab a social security numbers:
According to the control panel seen by this reporter, the scammers in charge of this scheme have hacked more than a half-dozen U.S. companies, filing fake tax returns on nearly every employee. At last count, this particular scam appears to stretch back to the beginning of this year's tax filing season, and includes fraudulent returns filed on behalf of thousands of people - totaling more than $1 million in bogus returns.
While Krebs reports on a wide-scale hack, the fact is that the treasure trove of potential
So what can you do to protect yourself and others? Here are a few tips:
If you have access to Social Security numbers at work, guard them them. Create strong passwords and don't leave your systems logged in. Don't leave the Social Security numbers in plain view and avoid printing them on a shared printer. Shred the documents when done and
the drive the even if the drive is an SSD .
- Consider getting a Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN) instead of giving out your Social security number. If you are a freelancer or otherwise self-employed you should always give out your FEIN instead of your Social Security number.
Hide anything that has your Social Security number better than you would hide your credit card number. Don't leave this number in plain sight in the car or at work and don't use your number in a public place such as coffee shop. Shred any file with your Social Security number if you don't need the file. Check
to see when to do that.
Consider getting an
Identity Protection PIN
. This is a
You can change a credit card number, you can change your passwords, but changing your Social Security number is much more difficult. So make sure you're securing your Social Security number as much as you can.
Crimeware Helps File Fraudulent Tax Returns | Krebs on Security
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