Security Summit offers tips to protect personal, business data

Use strong passwords, report irregularities

Posted 12/5/19

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Division of Taxation, the Internal Revenue Service and other partners recently held a Security Summit urging taxpayers to use strong passwords for their online …

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Security Summit offers tips to protect personal, business data

Use strong passwords, report irregularities

Posted

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Division of Taxation, the Internal Revenue Service and other partners recently held a Security Summit urging taxpayers to use strong passwords for their online accounts and digital devices in order to protect their personal information and prevent data theft while cautioning business owners to do something similar.

In recent years, recommendations from cybersecurity experts have changed regarding what constitutes a strong password. The experts now suggest that people use word phrases that are easy to remember, rather than random letters, characters, and numbers that cannot be easily recalled. A new example is as follows: SomethingYouCanRemember@30.

Protecting access to digital devices is so critical that some are now using fingerprint or facial recognition technology. But if you are still using password protections, consider the following tips to protect devices or online accounts: Use a minimum of eight characters; longer is better; Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, such as XYZ, 567, !@#; Avoid personal information or common passwords; opt for phrases; Change default/temporary passwords that come with accounts or devices; Do not reuse passwords. For example, changing Bgood!17 to Bgood!18 is not good enough; use unique usernames and passwords for accounts and devices; Do not use email addresses as usernames, if that is an option; Store any password list in a secure location, such as a safe or locked file cabinet; Do not disclose passwords to anyone for any reason; Use a password manager program to track passwords if you have numerous accounts.

Whenever it is an option for a password-protected account, users also should opt for a multi-factor authentication process. Many email providers, financial institutions and social media sties now offer customers two-factor authentication protections, which adds an extra layer of protection for your accounts.

The Summit included a discussion on businesses as well, alerting proprietors, partnerships, estates and trusts to the potential of identity theft and contact the IRS if they experience any of the following issues: Requests for an extension to file are rejected because a return with the employer identification number (EIN) or Social Security number (SSN) is already on file; An e-filed return is rejected because a duplicate EIN/SSN is already on file with the IRS; An unexpected receipt of a tax transcript or a tax notice or tax letter doesn’t correspond to anything submitted by the filer; and/or; Failure to receive expected and routine tax correspondence because the identity thief has changed the address.

The Security Summit consists of the IRS, state tax agencies, and the tax community, including tax preparation firms, tax software developers, payroll service providers, and others. Partners in the Security Summit work together to combat identity theft and fight other scams to protect the nation’s taxpayers.

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