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Cyber-criminals targeting business identities

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  When we imagine the possibility of identity theft, we often think of an attack on a person. But it can happen to a business too.

Scammers are becoming more clever this tax season. Some of them posing as CEO's and CFO's of small businesses, emailing the human resources department of the actual company requesting all employee W2's.

And if the HR staff member sends over those W2s, they scammer has instant access to all employee information and records.

Experts say this information is being used to file false tax returns, open fradulent credit cards and even take out loans in these business' names.

Of course the warning is to protect all sensitive credentials.

WHNT News 19 spoke with private tax accountant Robert Seaman about how to do that.

He said safeguarding your wi-fi or internet is a simple protection step lots of people miss.

"People that have networks and home business business networks," Seaman explained. "They need to make sure they use a strong encrypted password. 1234 or password is not going to work."

He said cyber criminals are accessing unsecured networks, planting malware on devices and stealing information without anyone's knowledge.

And when people do realize what's happening, it's usually too late.

"A lot of times, these may not be immediate attacks; the software will be on your computer maybe for months before it begins to feed information back to that cyber criminal," Seaman said.

But he also encourages people to hold their tax agencies accountable. Cyber criminals have also started targeting sources that have access to multiple people's information

He said everyone, individuals and tax agencies alike need to make sure they take all of the necessary steps to secure and encrypt sensitive information.

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