COLORADO SPRINGS — It’s officially the holiday season and holiday shoppers are kicking it into full gear.
“It’s Cyber Monday and a lot of folks are out there shopping, and identity thieves are out there hunting today, looking for that personal information that people may unwittingly give out today,” said Karen Connelly, Internal Revenue Service spokesperson.
To help protect taxpayers and tax pros from criminals looking to steal your personal and financial data, the IRS is hosting a Tax Security Awareness Week for the fourth year in a row.
“Everyday, the criminals get more and more sophisticated and find new and better ways to steal information. So, it’s vitally important that people understand how they can protect themselves,” Connelly said.
Each day will focus on basic security guidance. From recognizing clues of identity theft, online financial protection, building strong passwords, and reporting phishing emails.
“90-percent of identity theft is a result of phishing. Which, “phishing” is an email or another approach to you, soliciting you to enter your personal information that goes to a wayward source. So, you have to be really careful about who you give your information out to. When you’re shopping, look for the ‘https’ in the URL. Don’t shop on unsecured or public wifi because it’s vulnerable to attack,” Connelly said.
The IRS wants to not only help you stay safe with your holiday shopping, but to also spread the word to your family members.
According to Connelly, the best rule to follow is when in doubt, don’t give it out.
“Perhaps, you’re shopping today, but you have may young people at your house that aren’t as sophisticated or older folks who just aren’t that savvy with the internet and shopping. Make sure you give the pertinent information about being cautious this time of the year,” Connelly said.