Staying Safe Online – Did You Know?

The IRS has posted new warnings about identity theft and other tax-related scams. Even scams that seemingly have nothing to do with taxes may lead to someone filing a tax return in your name, and stealing your tax refund. To keep yourself and your family safe, the IRS recommends the following steps:

PROTECT YOUR DEVICES: Use security software, such as malware detection programs and apps that identify suspicious websites, on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. Make sure to keep the software up to date.

SAFEGUARD YOUR PRIVATE DATA ONLINE: Do not reuse passwords, and make sure all your passwords are rated as strong. Whenever possible, use multi-factor login procedures, such as receiving a unique code via text message to access your account.

ONLY SHOP ONLINE AT SECURE SITES, FROM SECURE LOCATIONS: Secure websites have a URL that begins with “https://” With most browsers, you will see a padlock symbol in the URL bar when you visit these sites. Do not shop on unsecured websites, and avoid shopping on public WiFi, such as at a coffee shop or mall.

WATCH OUT FOR FAKE CHARITIES: Legitimate charities accept trackable payment methods like checks and credit/debit cards. They will allow you time to research their work before donating, and never demand payment in gift cards or wired funds. They can also provide their tax ID number, which you can verify on the IRS website (link below).

GET AN IDENTITY PROTECTION PIN FROM THE IRS: An IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to you and the IRS. Filing your return with an IP PIN can prevent someone else from filing a bogus return in your name and claiming your refund. If you have documents to verify your identity, you can easily apply for an IP PIN online (link below).

Scammers and identity thieves develop new tricks every day, so the IRS urges all taxpayers to stay vigilant. Never give your tax or other sensitive information to a person or website that you do not know and trust.

IRS Charity Look-up Tool:…/search-for-tax-exempt-organizations

Online Application for IP PIN:…/get-an-identity-protection-pin