Protect your social networks, bank accounts and online purchases from hackers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – Identity theft, online scams and taxpayer fraud happen far too often and unfortunately hit many people across the country. The IRS and state tax agencies work together to protect your personal information from hackers.

Phishing scams are one of the ways that criminals can steal your information and gain access to your social media, banking, and online shopping accounts. A phishing scam is a form of unsolicited contact by someone impersonating a legitimate site. Experts ask people to make sure their Wi-Fi is secure and to avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi locations, as well as opening random links you receive through your texts and emails. This will help prevent crooks from accessing your private information.

“Make sure the software updates regularly and applies to all of your devices,” says Karen Connelly, spokesperson for the IRS. “Always use multi-factor authentication if it’s available, it’s typically used not only on social media sites but also on your banking devices. “

The general may not realize how vulnerable he is to crooks. For more on how you can protect yourself and your family, watch the interview with IRS media spokesperson Karen Connelly at the top of this article.

According to the IRS, here are 10 key steps to protect your personal information

  • Remember to use security software for computers, tablets and mobile phones and keep it up to date. Protect the electronic devices of family members, especially teens and young children.
  • Make sure that the anti-virus software for computers has a function to stop malware, and that there is an activated firewall that can prevent intrusions.
  • Phishing scams – like impostor emails, calls and texts – are the number 1 way for thieves to steal personal data. Do not open links or attachments on suspicious emails. This year, fraudulent scams related to COVID-19, Economic Impact Payments and other tax law changes are common.
  • Use strong, unique passwords for online accounts. Use an easily remembered phrase or series of words, or use a password manager.
  • Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Many email providers and social networking sites offer this feature. This helps prevent thieves from easily hacking into accounts.
  • Shop at sites where the web address begins with “https” – the “s” is for secure communications over the computer network. Also look for the “padlock” icon in the browser window.
  • Don’t buy over unsecured public Wi-Fi in places like a shopping mall. Remember that thieves can spy.
  • At home, secure home Wi-Fi with a password. With more homes connected to the web, secure systems are becoming more important, from wireless printers to wireless door locks to wireless thermometers. These can be access points for identity thieves.
  • Back up files to computers and cell phones. A cloud service or an external hard drive can be used to copy information from computers or phones, which is an important place to retrieve financial or tax data.
  • Work from home? Consider setting up a virtual private network (VPN) to securely connect to your workplace.

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