THE 2017 tax-filing season, which opened at the beginning of last month, is well under way. The South African Revenue Service (Sars) encourages you to submit your tax return online, and cyber-criminals see this as an opportunity to rob you of your hard-earned money, says Harish Chib, the Middle East and Africa vice-president for information technology security company Sophos. 

Cyber-criminals are continually devising new ways to trick you into divulging information, such as your PIN, about your bank accounts.

Chib has the following advice to avoid becoming a victim of cyber-crime:

• Sars will never ask you to divulge your banking details in a communication sent via post, email or SMS. Any information or questions should be directed to the Sars website, or the toll-free numbers found on your tax forms.

• Cyber-criminals often send out offers for free online tax services that are designed to garner your personal information. Use well-known service providers and never respond to email solicitations.

• Do not open email attachments from senders you do not know, particularly if they offer services you did not request, or claim to be invoices for products you did not purchase.

• Companies can prepare for cyber-crime by simulating phishing attacks to identify high-risk individuals, who should be provided with training on how to deal with these attacks.