More and more people are turning to the internet to seek tax advice or even make tax-related payments. However, the FBI is recommending users to stay cautious when they search for information online, as they may become the unsuspecting victims of cybercriminals.
FBI Warns About New Strategy Used by Cybercriminals
The internet is a vast place, and the most efficient way to make sense of it is by using a search engine. However, cybercriminals are aware of this fact and have found a way to lure unsuspecting victims using the advertising features of search engines.
According to a public service announcement released by the FBI, cybercriminals are using search engine advertisement services to impersonate brands and direct users to malicious sites that may steal their personal information.
As the name suggests, search engine advertising is a type of marketing that appears when a user looks for information on a search engine. While the vast majority of information displayed on search engines is legitimate and useful, criminals are paying for ads that appear alongside other results with the purpose of misleading users.
How To Protect Yourself
As the FBI points out, search engines “are not malicious in nature.” However, you should exercise caution when using them. Here are some tips to keep you safe:
- If you know the internet address of the website you want to visit, use it instead of looking up the name of the company or institution on a search engine (a strategy some people use to save time)
- Before clicking on a search engine result, check the address carefully for words misspelled with malicious intent (for example “yourbnak.com” instead of “yourbank.com”)
- Use an ad blocking extension when performing internet searches. An ad blocking extension is a small piece of software that prevents ads from appearing on your browser. In most cases you can customize which websites are allowed to display ads.
Have Tax Questions? At JT Tax Services, We’ve Got Answers
At JT Tax Services, we give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are limiting your liability while staying compliant with all regulations.
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