It’s tax time, and a new study shows more Americans are going online or using their phones to file than ever before. According to AT&T, more people online, means more opportunities for hackers, even through your text messages! 

Keenan Taggart with AT&T shares tips on ways to protect ourselves from cybercriminals and feel safe filing taxes online or through an app.

AT&T says the most important thing you need to do:

  • Use a reputable platform to file your taxes such as: IRS has a website (free),Turbo Tax (free), H&R Block (free), My Free Taxes (free) 
  • You can get an IP PIN (Identity Protection Personal Identification Number) from the IRS -This is a six-digit number designed to make it more challenging for scammers to file false tax returns in the names of other taxpayers 
  • Install security software 
  • There are mobile security apps that monitor vulnerabilities, identify breaches and detect email threats. AT&T’s Mobile Security app is just one example of security software that’s easy to use at no additional cost and protects personal information.  
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi AND think about the security on your home Wi-Fi. 
  • Your home Wi-Fi network extends as far as 300 feet from your wireless router. This means your Wi-Fi network name shows up whenever anyone searches for available networks in your area. To properly protect your network at home, it should absolutely have a Wi-Fi password, but you can even hide your network name to make it harder for others find you in the first place. 
  • If you think someone is using your Wi-Fi, your internet provider will provide ways to manage the devices on your personal network (AT&T offers Smart Home Manager, for example) so you can see if there’s a device you don’t recognize that’s using your Wi-Fi. Having the latest gateways will also ensure you have added protection from attacks. 
  • Two things we always tell people: Create strong passwords & use two-factor authentication. 
  • I don’t remember mine from last year because it was so strong. 
  • This is also an opportunity to update/change your password from last year! 

An important reminder, the IRS never requests financial or personal information in email or text communications, and neither do legitimate companies. In addition, the IRS won’t call you to tell you that you owe taxes. They will send you a letter.