Protect your Tax Filings and Bank Accounts

Money is on everyone’s mind as taxes are calculated and finances sorted, so take a few simple steps to ensure that your tax filings and bank accounts are well protected. In addition, parents can learn about cyberbullying and how they can help protect kids.

Parents

Discuss bullying with your kids to assist them in possibly helping themselves or others who are being bullied. (In the United States, for example, cyberbullying affects about a third of youth online.)

Key concepts to discuss are:

  • It is always wrong to bully. No matter what someone has done, they do not deserve to be bullied.
  • The only person at fault for bullying is the bully. It is NEVER the victim’s fault.
  • If you cannot stop the bullying right away, get help. People who get help are showing themselves and others that they deserve to be treated better.
  • Work with your child’s school if the bully is a schoolmate. Students can report bullying to school officials and teachers to get help.
  • Is your child a bully? Data show that kids who bully are more likely to be arrested for crimes, become abusers as adults, and are at an increased risk of suicide.

Tip Learn more about how to protect kids from cyberbullying and what to do if they are bullied online.

 

Everyone

Tax time brings a resurgence in scams. You may see scams offering “tax consulting,” links to websites offering “new deductions,” tools that will “calculate your taxes,” or requests from the “IRS” for your bank routing information. Don’t fall victim to these.

Tip Review the 14 Steps to Avoiding Scams to learn the warning signs, and read 6 Steps to Staying Safer this Tax Season.

How secure is your online banking experience? Ask yourself three questions:

  • Is my computer as secure as possible? You must have up-to-date security software, which includes antivirus and antispyware protection. Not sure? Secure your computers with anti-virus, anti-spyware, and tools. Keep them current and use them unfailingly -as automatically as locking your door when you leave the house. A computer that does not have security software installed and up-to-date will become infected with malicious software in an average of four minutes. That malicious software will steal your information and put you at risk for crimes. If the cost of security software is prohibitive, there are several excellent free services to choose from.  Learn more about free choices in Are You a Malware Magnet? 4 simple steps can make all the difference. [L1]
  • Is my connection as secure as possible? Follow the tips below to help keep cybercriminals from breaking into your computer (especially through your wireless network and router.)
    • Make sure the firewall is on.
    • If you use a wireless network, you will probably need to turn on encryption because most routers are shipped with it off.
    • Secure your wireless network at home by changing the router’s default network name and password. Find out how from the company that provides your router.
    • Avoid paying bills, banking, shopping, or doing other sensitive business on a public computer, or on any device (such as a laptop or cell phone) over a public wireless network even a network “borrowed” from a neighbor. The security is unreliable.
  • Am I using strong passwords? See Safe passwords don’t have to be hard to create; just hard to guess if you aren’t sure. (One thing to keep in mind about your passwords: no financial institution or the IRS will send you an email message asking for your PIN or password. Ever!)
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