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As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month wraps up and tax season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners today reminded taxpayers, including families with children, to remain vigilant against potential online threats. 

Without proper online safety, thieves can potentially steal personal information. The IRS and its Security Summit partners encourage everyone to review resources available to them as October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month concludes. 

Members of the Security Summit partner with the IRS to protect taxpayers from tax-related identity theft. The Summit includes members from the nation’s private sector tax industry, including state tax administrators, software companies, tax professionals, the IRS and others who work together to safeguard taxpayers year-round. 

The IRS urges families to be aware of a variety of security vulnerabilities found via the web. Whether people are shopping online or browsing various social media sites, those less familiar with online security might put their personal information at risk from criminals. 

Online safety tips

In recognition of October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness focus, here are some practices to help protect against cybersecurity attacks:

  • Recognize scams and report phishing. It’s important to remember that the IRS does not use unsolicited email and social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving tax refunds, payments or tax bills. 
  • Protect personal information. Refrain from revealing too much personal information online. Birthdates, addresses, age and financial information, such as bank accounts and Social Security numbers, are among things that should not be shared freely. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on computers. 
  • Use strong passwords. Consider using a password manager to store passwords. 
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) Use this for extra security on online accounts. 
  • Update computer and phone software. Enable automatic updates to install critical security updates. 
  • Use security software. Such as anti-virus and firewall protections.
  • Use a VPN. Criminals can intercept personal information on insecure public Wi-Fi networks. Individuals are encouraged to always use a virtual private network when connecting to public Wi-Fi.