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How to Protect Yourself against Fraud and Identity Theft During the Holidays

It's the time of year that cyber criminals love - Holiday shopping season!

During the frenetic final 6-8 weeks of each year, people generally make a greater number of purchases than they do during the rest of the year. They also tend to be more distracted, providing a ripe environment for credit card fraud and identity theft.

The IRS has joined with representatives of the software industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors and state tax administrators to combat identity theft to protect the nation's taxpayers.

Keep Your Computer Secure

  • Use security software that updates automatically, has a firewall component and virus/malware protection

  • Secure sensitive data with file encryption

  • Create strong, unique passwords

  • Utilize 2-Factor Authentication

  • Submit personal data only using encrypted websites (https: sites)

Lock Mobile Devices and Phones

  • Activate the find my phone function

  • Use screen lock and facial/thumbprint recognition

  • Keep software updated

Avoid Phishing Scams and Malware

  • Identity thieves use phishing emails to trick users into giving up passwords and other personal data.

  • Trusted sources, such as bank, insurance or tax & accounting providers will not ask you to provide passwords via an email.

  • Scammers use emails with an urgent message, claiming there is a problem with your account and instruct you to use the email specific link. Do NOT use the link in an email - go to your credit card or trust provider's URL and then log in from there.

The IRS has created a document that further outlines steps you can take to protect yourself this holiday season- to avoid a HO-HO-Whole lot of frustration with identity theft.

To download the full document, click here.

To learn more about identity theft, review the IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft by Clicking Here

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