As today marks the first week of tax season, here are some cyber safe tips you should keep in mind to be cyber smart and help keep your personal and financial information safe from cybercriminals:
- Watch out for phishing messages in your email inbox over the next few weeks. Cybercriminals will try to send emails that blend in with other important messages about accessing your financial information. These fake emails often have links to fraudulent sites looking to steal your information, but don’t be fooled. Always think before you click, and instead hover over links to make sure it is a legitimate site. When in doubt, type in the web address the link is referring to.
- File your Tax Return as soon as possible. The sooner you submit yours, it becomes impossible for a fraudster to submit another return with your personal information. Also, when filing online, make sure to file on secure HTTPS sites only.
- Review/Update your passwords for your online accounts, especially financial ones to help keep cybercriminals locked out of your account. Make your passwords are difficult to guess by creating longer ones that have a combination of numbers, symbols and upper and lowercase letters. Never use the same password for all your accounts, and if possible, enable multi-factor authentication for an extra layer of security when logging in to sites.
- Carefully review your financial statements and make sure that no suspicious activity or transactions have occurred on your accounts. Also, shred any outdated documents that have personal information on them such as your Social Security or account numbers, before throwing them out.
- Beware of callers claiming to be the IRS demanding payment. The real IRS will not call you saying that you owe them money.
Have a safe tax filing season!