As we are in the midst of tax season, here are some cyber safe tips to help protect your personal and financial information from cybercriminals:
- 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.
- Watch out for phishing messages over the next few weeks. Cybercriminals will try to send emails that blend in with other important messages about accessing your financial information. This year especially look out for messages saying you’re “eligible for a COVID stimulus payment,” or other economic relief programs. These fake emails often have links to fraudulent sites looking to steal your information. Always think before you click, and instead hover over links to see if the address is a legitimate site.
- Review/Update your passwords for your online accounts, especially financial ones to help keep cybercriminals locked out of your account. If possible, enable multi-factor authentication for an extra layer of security when logging in to sites. Make your passwords difficult to guess by creating longer ones, in some cases complex and never use the same password for all your accounts.
- 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 Also, shred any outdated documents that have personal information on them such as your Social Security or account numbers, before throwing them out.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. The IRS will only contact you via certified mail.
Have a safe tax filing season!