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The IRS released a commentary about avoiding tax scams but these ideas are applicable to your financial life in general. This appeared on cnnmoney.com.
The IRS, state tax agencies and tax preparation companies are doing even more this year to protect your personal data and thwart criminals from stealing it.
But that's not enough to prevent refund fraud and tax-related identity theft. You also have to take active steps to do the same, the IRS said.
"We all have a part to play," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at a press conference Thursday, announcing a public campaign called Taxes. Security. Together.
Among the campaign's main recommendations:
1. Don't be duped by calls, emails or texts purporting to be from a tax agency.
They're scams. Federal and state tax authorities would never contact you out of the blue and threaten you with penalties, lawsuits or jail if you don't share your bank account number or send money right away. The same is true of threatening solicitations that purport to be from your bank.
2. Don't click on any links.
Attachments to emails pretending to be from a tax or financial institution may infect your computer or steal your log-in information.
3. Safeguard your computer.
Install security software that provides anti-virus and firewall protections.
4. Encrypt computer files with valuable information.
That includes your personal, financial or tax data.
5. Lock 'n shred.
Paper files with valuable information should be kept in a locked file. If you want to get rid of them, shred them.
6. Keep an eye on credit.
Check your credit report and Social Security earnings record at least once a year to make sure no one else is using your credit or Social Security number for employment or other purposes.
7. Don't overshare.
While it's become normal to post selfies and broadcast your every thought on social media, don't offer personal details -- e.g., your address, your bank, your maiden name, or anything else that makes it easier for criminals to hijack your identity along with data they may already have on you.