Last year, identity fraud cost Canadians $15,981,763.45[i]. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is expecting more than 25.4 million[ii] people to submit their tax returns by April 30, 2013. Almost two-thirds of Canadians now file their returns online[iii] and the CRA is encouraging more people to follow suit. This is definitely a favourite time of year for cybercriminals.
Tax season is an incredible opportunity for private information to be compromised. Filing online is fast, accurate, and convenient, and users can expect their refunds to be deposited directly into their accounts in as little as eight business days. If users are irresponsible with their online security, cybercriminals can easily obtain a lot of unprotected and confidential information they can use to access or open bank accounts, transfer balances, apply for loans, credit cards and others goods and services, make purchases, obtain passports, and receive government benefits.
There are a number of things that users can do to protect their information, such as keeping their access codes private, not using public computers and networks to e-file, choosing their tax preparers carefully, and never sending their confidential information by email. What it all comes down to is for users to be diligent and aware, taking the necessary precautions to safeguard their identities and the identities of their loved ones.
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