Tax tech warning for last-minute mobile filers

It's down to the wire for procrastinators to finish tax returns. The IRS has made filing easier on mobile devices, but while that option may be tempting, experts say it could put sensitive data at risk.

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 3:31 PM

(NBC News) Financial experts warn that doing your taxes on a mobile device could create data vulnerabilities.

"Most of the apps that allow you to do taxes on the phone require you to take a picture of your W-2, but that's really sensitive data sitting out there that can easily be stolen," said Megan Gorman with Chequers Financial Management.

After uploading tax documents, many people forget to delete the photos, leaving them sitting in the phone's storage and possibly on the cloud.

Scammers can also use malware to steal tax account logins.

According to Symantec, mobile malware is on the rise increasing by 54-percent in 2017.

If your only option is to do your return on a mobile device, experts suggest not using a public Wi-Fi network.

NBC contacted TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxSlayer and TaxAct to get their response to these security concerns.

TurboTax noted that its app does not store any data on a customer's phone or device.

H&R Block said the photos taken with its mobile app are not saved to the device or the cloud, and are removed from the client's device after upload, which is usually 10 to 15 seconds.

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