The IRS data breach and how to prevent becoming a victim

We live in a digital era of information. While we try to simplify the way data is stored and accessed, we need to be sure that this information is safeguarded from those who can use it to harm us. Recently, the IRS released a bulletin about the data breach they had just experienced. Out of the 23 million taxpayers that accessed their online transcript service (which has really been a blessing over the traditional fax and snail mail alternatives!), about 100,000 accounts were compromised. While the IRS works to remedy this breach, those who were affected will receive a letter in the mail.

In the meantime, I have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you protect your personal information from scammers:

  1. First and most obvious, DO NOT post personal or financial information publicly on social media.
  2. Protect your social security number. Do not carry your card in your purse or wallet.
  3. Be sure that websites requesting personal data are secure. Look for a padlock in the address bar next to the URL.
  4. Monitor financial accounts often, but only from a personal device. Avoid using public computers or unsecured public networks to view private information.
  5. Shred bank statements and other documents containing personal information

For more information on the IRS Data breach, visit the IRS website.