October is National Work and Family Month. The IRS is asking families to pay attention to all of their online activity.
“We’re very sharing people,” said IRS spokesman Michael Devine. “We like to tell people what our birthday is and where we live and what we’re doing. Every time you add another piece of your personal information out online where you can’t control it, the criminals have more information that they can use.”
If you aren’t expecting contact from someone online, it’s probably a scam.
“E-mails that you don’t expect, a lot of times, these are not innocent,” said Devine. “They’re trying to trick you into giving them information or, some of them will actually have a link, open this up, and as soon as you click on it, you infect your computer or your phone with a virus that can let them steal everything.”
It’s also important not to connect to public internet without thinking about it first.
“If you’re in the mall or the coffee shop and you hook up to the wifi, a criminal who is sitting two tables away with their laptop open can see that and they can steal your information,” said Devine. “They can log right in with you. You just need to be careful, because cyber criminals want to intercept your data. Always use virtual private networks when connecting.”
On your phone and any other device, make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update.