IRS

IRS Warns of Last-Minute Tax Scams

With tax scammers robbing on the internet, it becomes difficult to hide oneself from money launders. As the year-end is approaching, every taxpayer, preparer and companies are active, and so do online scammers. Considering the amount of risk posed for online consumers, internal revenue service issued a warning lately, to tax professionals and citizens, to save themselves from online thieves. As per Forbes, there is a recent increase in online scams as scammers are using diverse ways to get their way into online money theft.

Internal revenue service urges tax preparers and individuals, submitting their online tax returns, to verbally reconfirm their information about last minute change in address or direct deposit funds. It is really important for tax filers to make sure their information is correct and not vulnerable for scammers.

In recent days, IRS has identified few infamous scams. A huge number of tax scammers have already hit big organizations, schools and companies. One such scam revolves around one malicious actor who poses himself as customer, calling his or her tax preparer about the refund not deposited in the account. In the process, the fake caller takes down all the important information and scams it.

This process does not stop here as they are not ignoring the other half of the equation. They have found the best way to dodge the customers and tax preparers. In this situation, the tax customer receives an email from their tax service provider asking them to update their online profile. These types of emails or notifications might have malicious attachment to obtain personal information.

It is essential to know that IRS would not ask for some personal information and below mentioned details too.
● IRS would not call or email verifying your identity by asking personal or financial information.
● They will never demand for immediate payment over the phone or will ask about the taxes you owe.
● Never demand to pay the taxes you owe through third party websites or e-transfers.
● Never threaten to immediately bring police for the taxes owed.
● Never ask for credit or debit numbers over the phone.

The IRS and tax regulatory bodies are doing best in their capacity to stop the online scammers by acting as a security summit. They have also enacted various safeguards in the interest of tax preparers and payers against identity theft for the year.

However, online scammers are always bridging their way to the security summit and breaching the security as a whole.These kinds of scammers use advanced technology to get access to divulging sensitive data from people. It is wise to be aware about the sensitivity of issue. The money might be small but if they get hands on to the bank accounts or personal details then it is easy for them to do identity scam and make you prey in eyes of law.

Keep your information safe and secure this tax season by making sure there is enough trustworthy communication between you and tax preparer and bank, if the situation demands, else, your safety is in your hands. Contact Nerds Support for data security and recovery solutions!

Data Security Social Media

Tips to Stay Safe on Social Media

Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram or any social media platform, there is no doubt that these online social media platforms connect you to the entire world in a millisecond. The internet is exploding day by day with zillions of pictures and information. The texting crowd feels proud while sharing their moments online but there is no denial to the fact ‘online platform is not secure’. It is highly important to maintain data security while being social.

With so many of us using social websites today, it makes perfect targets for swindles and security breach to happen. An infamous topic for tech-gossip nowadays is hacking; every second professional hackers and scammer breach somebody’s personal space. It is not exactly the intention everyone has while signing up, it is about privacy sacrifices. So, how to stay safe while being social? By following these rules without missing the online fun.

Too Much Information (TMI): Protect yourself from identity theft by not sharing too much information on social media platform. Every social media platform is linked with Google to crawl relevant or irrelevant information. It becomes one vulnerable to an unlimited source of data available online for frauds. Never share the state you were born to maintain data security.

False Identity: There is no rocket science in falsifying someone’s identity on Facebook or twitter. It can be a ‘fun’ for some but there is a legit side too. Some people use a fake identity to conceal who they actually are, leading to financial frauds. So, verify the page that belongs to you by avoiding any suspicious account you come across.

Customized Privacy Options: You are smart if you have customized your privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Check out the settings, configuration, and privacy settings to see what options you have to limit yourself from scammers.

Never Violate Social networking Policies: The social networking sites in the workplace bears a lot of information about the company. It’s a wise thing not to mess around their policies. Accidental data leakage incidents will not only affect your job but also make inappropriate public statements. So, never violate with these policies to maintain data security.

No Popularity Contest: The page with most ‘likes’ or hundreds of ‘friends’ will not make you popular. That is just a possibility of adding more strangers to your profile, who have now access to your valuable information. It is a best practice to add only those people who are either your ‘actual friends’ or known acquaintances.

Not all who surf social media site is a scammer, hacker or a cheater. We need to filter out who genuinely are there to increase their social group. In other words, it is essential to learn how sites can use your information for other’s benefit. Furthermore, do some research online and be prepared. Each of us should take responsibility for protecting ourselves. Contact Nerds Support for world-class data security solutions!

Close up of notepad for a corporate compliance program kept on table in empty corporate conference room before business meeting

What is a Corporate Compliance Program?

Do you work in an industry that requires you to follow a strict corporate compliance program? Unfortunately, many businesses don’t know whether or not they are following compliance until it’s too late. Nerds Support doesn’t want you to be one of those companies.

 

What is a Corporate Compliance Program?

Compliance is a term used to describe a set of standards set by a governing body to enforce internal controls and ethics of businesses utilizing them. These can include PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOX regulatory compliance standards. There are five essential elements to having a successful corporate compliance program used across today’s industries: leadership, risk assessment, standards/controls, training/communication, and oversight. Without these five elements in place and practiced regularly, businesses cannot have an effective corporate compliance program.

 

What is a Corporate Compliance Program Used for?

Certain industries require checks and balances when it comes to transmitting data to protect the individual the data is regarding. A corporate compliance program is that set of checks and balances. It lays out specific guidelines of how data is stored, transmitted, or shared.

 

HIPAA – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects sensitive patient data. Any company that deals with protected health information is required to have a set of security measures in place and followed to be in compliance with HIPAA. This includes physical, network, and processes as well.

 

PCI DSS – The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requires companies who process, store, or transmit credit card payments – regardless of size – to host their data securely with a PCI DSS compliant provider.

 

SOX – Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance is a comprehensive, cost-effective, and risk-based compliance act. It requires all publicly held companies establish controls and procedures to report financial information to reduce the risk or possibility of corporate fraud.

 

The Importance of Following a Corporate Compliance Program

Companies found in violation of these programs face serious charges by governing entities. Companies who receive audits on their financial records and found not to be in compliance with SOX can be harshly penalized while losing their investors and shareholders trust and respect. Companies who are non-compliant with HIPAA can find themselves facing steep fines and a loss of clients. If your company isn’t PCI DSS compliant, not only do you risk massive fines, you also risk losing the support of your financial institution as well. Not having a supporting bank equals no longer being able to accept credit cards as a form of payment.

 

Let Nerds Support Keep You Secure

Nerds Support has a team dedicated to keeping you in compliance with any industry standards you may have to follow. We’ll run system audits to see how secure your network is and implement processes that will get you back in compliance if you’re found in violation. Isn’t it time to make sure your company is following the rules?

Data Backup Strategies for Your Business

As our world becomes more and more data driven, it is important that we protect our sensitive information. If a business does not take the proper steps to backup their data, they could lose everything to a hacker, natural disaster or even employee error. When your company’s precious information is suddenly gone, you will have to spend tons of money on restoration and there are no guarantees that you’ll get it all back. This will cost your company its customers and possibly lead to a shut down. Don’t let your organization’s reputation become tainted because you weren’t prepared. Consider the following data backup strategies for your business.

 

USB Drives for Data Backup

Requiring the use of USB drives for your employees is the simplest form of data backup. USB drives are ideal for data backup of documents, media files, application data and the system as a whole. Choose a drive that works by simply plugging in and starting the backup, without the need to install any software, launch a program or configure backup sets. This will make your life easier and it leaves less room for error.

 

External Hard Drives or Storage Tape

External hard disk drives (HDDs) and storage tape are other ways to backup your data. They are portable and can be easily moved to an off-site location where the information can be hidden from those who want to steal it. When moved off-site they will be safe if your office falls victim to a fire, flood or other catastrophe. The discs can be brought home every night or sent to a safe-deposit box every few days. If your business is small, it is more affordable to use DVDs or Blu-ray discs as opposed to tape drives. Always store the discs in a dark, cool place out of the direct sunlight so that they do not suffer from “bit rot” and they should only be used as short-term backups.

 

Cloud Storage Services

When you use cloud storage, not only is your information stored safely off-site, but it is housed at several storage centers around the world. It is important to choose a cloud service provider that has been doing business for awhile and has a solid reputation for being reliable. Before you entrust your sensitive data to any organization for protective storage, make sure to always scramble the information with robust encryption. The cloud-storage provider should be willing to send your data backups to you via tangible media if it takes too long for a complete download. The cloud is perfect for alleviating significant data loss catastrophes.

 

These are just a few of the ways your organization can protect its sensitive information. Contact us if you have any questions about data backup for your business. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you decide which strategies are the best for your company.

Why Small Businesses are Susceptible to Cyber Criminals

Among the many hardships that small businesses can generally face, one that is particularly detrimental today is the lack of proper cyber security managing. Recent surveys of small businesses revealed that in 2013, 55% of respondents were victims of security breaches with the year. Moreover, 53% of those that were compromised were actually breached more than once in the same year.

A contributing factor to this issue is that because of their size, many small businesses wrongfully assume that they are not likely to ever be targets of an online security breach or data hack. This assumption often leads to more lax security practices, making these businesses susceptible to the attacks of cyber criminals. Fortunately, there are several ways to help prevent being victim to cyber criminals. Below are some common yet avoidable security mistakes for small businesses to be mindful of.

1. Rushing Projects for Fast Turnaround Time

Most businesses big or small will pride themselves on their efficiency, but the pressure to live up to this claim can actually create risks sometimes. The high demand for IT-related projects tends to create particularly high-pressure situations within businesses, and studies have shown that many businesses have subsequently released projects that were not properly equipped with security features yet. With security often being the last aspect included in a project, many smaller businesses are left prone to cyber attacks. This can be prevented if security is simply made a priority at the beginning of a project, rather than at the end when time is running out.

2. Easy-to-Guess Passwords

If your password is easy to remember, then it is also most likely easy to guess. The mentality of “it’s so obvious that no one would ever bother trying it” is an all-too-dangerous false sense of security that ends up occurring when businesses create passwords for their systems. Statistics have shown that one-third of small business security breaches are caused by poor passwords. IT professionals can help protect against this by including two-tier authentication on systems.

3. Pointing Protection in the Wrong Direction

External threats to security are of course a huge concern or small businesses, but many make the mistake of believing that those on the outside are the only threat. Unfortunately, internal threats to security can be just as prominent. Surveys of small businesses have revealed that nearly half of all respondents considered pressure to protect against internal security threats to be even greater. There is often a family mentality coupled with a great deal of trust within small businesses, which, while understandable, also complicates this issue. Businesses can work against this by educating staff threats that are both intended and unintentional.