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Keep your personal information safe with these cyber security tips.

E-Filing: Protect Your Personal Info with Cyber Security Tips

By DeVry University

Tax Day is around the corner, and as electronic filing is the fastest way to submit the necessary paperwork – taxpayers have e-filed more than one billion Form 1040 series tax returns since 1990 – it’s important to safeguard yourself and protect your personal information.[1]  

Although the IRS says submitting taxes online is the safest way to protect your personal information1, taking additional steps can help lower your risk of a cyber-security breach. Whether paying taxes, shopping online, or checking your bank balance, sensitive information can be at risk when shared online without caution. Utilizing simple online security tips allows you to avoid online security theft and fraud during tax season.

Know the Facts.

In 2012, 16.6 million U.S. residents ages 16 and older were victims of at least one case of identity theft, resulting in more than $24.7 billion in losses.[2]

Credit card fraud is also growing quickly with a 50% increase between 2005 and 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.3 Simply put, no Internet user is 100% safe from online security breaches. In fact, the estimated number of software programs created to steal consumer information has grown to 130 million, a dramatic increase from the one million programs estimated in 2007.[3]

 

Don’t become a statistic. Here are some smart cyber security tips to avoid online security breaches:[4]

1. Keep your computer, browser and software updated to ensure all security walls are set with the most current technology available.

2. Don’t trust unknown, wireless sources. Access the Internet over a secure wireless network and download only trusted applications when prompted to do so.

3. Use different passwords for every website and update them regularly. Avoid the obvious choices like your birthday, common words and personal information.

4. Verify the authenticity of requests, such as your date of birth, credit card information and similar personal details. If you are unsure, play on the safe side and deny access. If the information is necessary to finish a process, contact the company directly.

5. Closely monitor your accounts. Most banks offer free online access; log in often (on a secure network!) to make sure there are no signs of suspicious activity.

6. Check your credit score to help flag potential issues and identify areas of concern. A sudden drop in your score, for example, could indicate fraudulent activity. Use websites, such as FreeCreditScore.com or AnnualCreditReport.com, to gather this information annually for free.

 

If you are interested in a pursuing a career to help solve and stop security breaches, visit devry.edu to learn more about our Computer Information Systems Degree Program.

 

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[1] http://www.irs.gov/Filing
[2] http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/12/31/scariest-identity-theft-statistics/
[3] http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/04/14/identity-theft-growing/2082179/
[4] https://www.dhs.gov/cybersecurity-tips