A new report finds that Americans are exhibiting a false sense of security where their personal data security is concerned.
Data security experts IDT911 recently surveyed Americans, and found that very few are following even basic procedures to protect themselves. This is especially worrying considering it’s tax-filing time.
For instance, only 19% of those polled are ensuring that their home Wi-Fi network is password protected. If it’s not secure, you’re making it insanely easy for hackers to obtain your most prized personal data – especially during a time when you are dealing with your taxes.
Almost half (49%) of those polled neglect to lock their mailbox when receiving their refund through the mail. When it comes to snail mail, thieves don’t even need any special skills to swipe your data.
IDT911 said that more than a third (38%) of Americans are unsure of how to vet a tax preparer’s credibility, and only 12% planned on filing in January – even though filing as early as possible is a great way beat potential identity thieves to the punch.
Maybe this is why IDT911’s fraud center saw a 154% increase in tax-related cases from 2014 to 2015; people simply aren’t being careful.
So, follow these simple tips:
- File as early as possible, so you can “beat identity thieves to the punch”.
- Make sure your home WiFi is password protected. If you’re not sure about how to do this, contact your service provider.
- Avoid transmitting sensitive data over public WiFi. Wait until you are on a secure connection.
- Change your passwords now. Include all accounts that bear on your finances, including online access bank and credit card accounts. You should do this from time to time, and tax filing season is one of those times.
- Be sure that your refund check is being sent to a mail box that is secure.
Take these few simple precautions before you send or receive sensitive data this tax-filing season. You don’t want thieves to enjoy any unearned income from you.