Ensuring Your Personal Information Stays Safe When Doing Your Taxes Online
- Avoid Using a Public Computer
First, if you make the decision to do your own taxes online, then make sure that you are using a secure computer. In other words, do not under any circumstances use a public computer. While most people may be tempted to use the free Internet services that the public library has to offer, that is exactly the one place to avoid when it comes to doing your taxes online.
The simple fact of the matter is there are too many users on a public computer. And if you’re not computer savvy, you risk the chance of accidentally leaving some very personal information on the hard drive that anyone can access. When you’re filing your annual taxes, personal information like your address, date of birth, social security number and the like are all included. Furthermore, there are also hackers whose main objective is to extract sensitive information for their own criminal gain.
Don’t be their victim.
- Use a Secure WiFi Network
Another thing to consider if you’re doing your taxes online is to use your own network. Even if you’re using your own computer, it is critical to be mindful of what WiFi network you’re connected to and if it’s secure or not. Using a public WiFi network is just as bad as using the public library’s computer. These days, people can access a WiFi network without having to be inside of the building. Also, if you live in an apartment complex, be sure that your personal WiFi network is set to private where a password is required in order to use it.
There are many people who aren’t aware of this and as result, might accidentally log in to someone else’s network—in the comfort of their own home!
Always be mindful!
No matter where you are on your laptop, always be diligent in checking your WiFi status, not just when you’re doing your taxes, but always. It’s just best practice to get into the habit, because if you’re accidentally accessing someone else’s WiFi, then that means whomever’s network you’re tapped into has access to your computer as well. This is something you should always take into consideration whenever you’re using your computer in public.
- Consider the Software Application You’re Using
In addition to the WiFi precautions, you should also make sure that the software that you’re choosing to do your taxes on is safe and secure. Some tax software applications make it possible to do your taxes through your mobile device.
That’s right, you can submit your taxes right on your phone if you so choose!
The same precautions need to be taken into consideration here as well. Most mobile devices are connected to the cloud. But with this, you also have the option of switching to another network to preserve your data. Depending on how your phone is set up, you may be automatically connecting to the nearest network—that’s not yours! So again, be mindful of such things when using your computer or mobile device.