Tips to Protect Yourself Online

  

  • Avoid suspicious phishing emails that appear to be from the IRS or other companies; do not click on the links—go directly to their web sites instead.

  • Beware of phishing scams asking you to update or verify your accounts.

  • “Strange” emails. Sometimes you will receive an email with an attachment from someone you know and it may sound “strange,” like something they wouldn’t send. The email address attached to the email may be their actual email address but if you are not 100% sure the sender would send such an email, call the person to be sure they sent you the email. If they tell you they haven’t sent you an email, delete the email; it is most likely malware and could infect your computer.

  • Download and install software only from web sites you know and trust.

  • Use security software to block pop-up ads, which can contain viruses.

  • Ensure your family understands safe online and computer habits.

  • Look for the “S”. When shopping or banking online, always look to see that the site uses encryption to protect your information.  Look for “https” at the beginning of the web address.  The “s” is for secure.  Unencrypted sites begin with an http address.  Additionally, make sure the https carries through on all pages, not just the sign-on page.

  • Secure Wireless Networks. A wireless network sends a signal through the air that allows it to connect to the Internet.  If your home or business Wi-Fi is unsecured, it also allows any computer within range to access your wireless and potentially steal information from your computer.  Criminals also can use your wireless to send spam or commit crimes that would be traced back to your account.  Always encrypt your wireless.  Generally, you must turn on this feature and create a password.

  • Be cautious when using public wireless networks. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient but often not secure.  Tax or Financial Information you send through web sites or mobile apps may be accessed by someone else.  If a public Wi-Fi hotspot does not require a password, it probably is not secure.  Remember, if you are transmitting sensitive information, look for the “s” in https in the web site address to ensure that the information will be secure.

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