Safeguarding Your Finances: The Intersection of Tax Returns and Cybersecurity

a young man does a cybersecurity webinar on his laptop

In today's digital age, where financial transactions and personal information are often managed online, ensuring the security of sensitive data is paramount. As tax season approaches, individuals and businesses are focused on maximizing deductions and navigating complex tax laws and on safeguarding their financial information from cyber threats. Let's dig into the critical intersection of tax returns and cybersecurity, understanding the risks involved and how you can protect against them.

Understanding the Risks:

Cyber threats come in various forms, from phishing scams and identity theft to malware attacks targeting financial data. Tax returns contain a wealth of personal and financial information, including Social Security numbers, bank account details, and income statements. This makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals seeking to steal identities or commit financial fraud. Moreover, tax-related scams tend to surge during tax season, exploiting the sense of urgency and confusion among taxpayers.

Key Cybersecurity Concerns:

Phishing and Social Engineering: Cybercriminals often employ phishing emails or fake websites to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information such as login credentials or financial details. These emails may appear to come from legitimate sources like tax agencies or financial institutions, adding to their deceptive nature.

Malware and Ransomware Attacks: Malicious software can infect computers and networks, allowing attackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or hold it hostage for ransom. Ransomware attacks can cripple businesses and individuals, leading to financial losses and reputational damage.

Identity Theft: Tax-related identity theft involves using stolen personal information to file fraudulent tax returns or claim refunds. Victims may only discover the theft when their legitimate tax return is rejected, leading to a lengthy and stressful resolution process.

Mitigating Cyber Risks:

Stay Vigilant: Be cautious of unsolicited emails, especially those requesting personal or financial information. Verify the legitimacy of requests by contacting the sender through official channels or visiting their website directly. Academy Bank will not ask you for your login information by phone, text or email.

Secure Your Devices: Keep your computer and mobile devices updated with the latest security patches and antivirus software. Use strong, unique passwords for online accounts and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible.

File Securely: When filing taxes online, use secure internet connections and reputable tax preparation software. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks, which may expose your data to potential eavesdropping.

Monitor Your Accounts: Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions. Consider signing up for fraud alerts and credit monitoring services to detect suspicious activity. For Academy Bank, to view and download your eStatements, log into Online or Mobile Banking and go to Services then View eDocuments, and follow the instructions.

Educate Yourself: Stay informed about common tax scams and cybersecurity best practices. Share this knowledge with friends, family, and colleagues to help them stay protected as well.


With tax season upon us, it's essential to prioritize cybersecurity and safeguard your financial information against potential threats. By understanding the risks involved, remaining vigilant, and implementing proactive security measures, you can minimize the chances of falling victim to tax-related cybercrime. Remember, protecting your data is not just a yearly obligation but an ongoing commitment to your financial well-being. Academy Bank is committed to helping safeguard our clients and we provide resources to help educate.

Member FDIC