Tips to Help People Stay Safe Online

Tips to Help People Stay Safe Online

The IRS has issued Tax Tip 2020-163, which provides guidance and suggestions on how to best ensure taxpayers’ security and to keep people safe online.  As the world becomes increasingly digital and we spend more time online, while navigating new technologies, everyone should be mindful of security risks, tax scams, consumer alerts, and fraudsters.

The first tip offered by the IRS is to limit your own personal exposure by not revealing too much personal information.  Birthdays, addresses, social security numbers, etc. shouldn’t be shared liberally, which opens oneself online to scammers.  Only provide what is necessary, and if divulging personal information is in question, it is best to err on the side of caution.

The next tip is to always use software with firewall and anti-virus protections.  Best practice is to always make sure security software is enabled and can automatically update.  People should encrypt sensitive files stored on computers, including tax records, transcripts, and applications just to name a few.  It’s highly recommended that people should use unique and strong passwords for each account. It is imperative that all family members have comprehensive anti-virus protection for their devices, especially on shared devices.

It’s been said that a strong defense is the best offense, and the IRS would agree when it comes to digital security.  The IRS emphasizes that it is crucial to learn to recognize and avoid scams.  Whether it is phishing emails, phony threatening phone calls where the caller is posing as an IRS agent, or suspicious links, we must be vigilant and avoid falling victim for the traps set by fraudsters.  The IRS states: If someone calls asking for personal information, people should not give out such details.

  • Protect personal data.

Adults should advise children and teens and other young users to shop at reputable online retailers. They should treat personal information like cash and shouldn’t leave it lying around.

  • Know the risk of public Wi-Fi.

Connection to public Wi-Fi is convenient and often free, but it may not be safe. Hackers and cybercriminals can easily steal personal information from these networks. Always use a virtual private network when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

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The Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington has worked with Bormel, Grice & Huyett, P.A., since 1988. Their knowledge of the arts and the arts community make their services invaluable. They can translate accounting terminology into a comprehensive language. For many organizations, the accounting firm of Bormel, Grice & Huyett provides the financial "information bridge." We whole-heartedly recommend Bormel, Grice & Huyett, excellent accountants who care about our arts organizations.
Jennifer Cover Payne, Executive Director, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington

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