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1. Secure Your Mobile Devices
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Don't forget to use security software for tablets and mobile phones—and keep it updated. Protect electronic devices of family members, especially teens and young children.
2. Protect Yourself Against Malware
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Make sure anti-virus software for computers has a feature to stop malware, and there is a firewall enabled that can prevent intrusions.
3. Be Wary of Phishing
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Phishing scams—like imposter emails, calls and texts—are the No. 1 way thieves steal personal data. Don't open links or attachments on suspicious emails. This year, fraud scams related to COVID-19, Economic Impact Payments and other tax law changes are common.
4. Password Protect Everything
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Use strong and unique passwords for online accounts. Use a phrase or series of words that can be easily remembered or, better yet, use a password manager.
6. Use Multi-Factor Authentication Whenever Possible
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Many email providers and social media sites offer this feature. It helps prevent thieves from easily hacking accounts by requiring a second point of contact to access accounts.
6. Shop at Sites Where the Web Address Begins with "https"
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The "s" in https is for secure communications over the computer network. Also, look for the "padlock" icon in the browser window.
7. Beware Public Networks
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Don't shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in places like a mall. Remember, thieves can eavesdrop.
8. Don’t Neglect Home Networks
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At home, secure home Wi-Fis with a password. With more homes connected to the web, secured systems become more important, from wireless printers, wireless door locks to wireless thermometers. These can be access points for identity thieves.
9. Back Up Files on Computers and Mobile Phones
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A cloud service or an external hard drive can be used to copy information from computers or phones—providing an important place to recover financial or tax data.
10. Consider a VPN
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Working from home? Consider creating a virtual private network (VPN) to securely connect to your workplace. VPN stands for "Virtual Private Network" and describes the opportunity to establish a protected network connection when using public networks. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and disguise your online identity.