After the data breach from Turbo Tax, IRS data breaches, credit card hacking schemes, and similar instances, we can see why some clients are apprehensive of virtual process. This could range from the e-filing of a tax return to sending documents over the internet to using credit cards. Here are some tips to make your data more secure:
1. Do not send sensitive data directly over email.
This includes tax returns, statements that would have your social security numbers listed (W-2, 1099, etc.), banking information, etc. This even pertains to simply listing these sensitive items in the body of the email.
This could come up when sending data to your CPA, to your banker, to your attorney, etc.
If you must, at the very least password protect your files. Be sure the end user knows the password so they can access the document. Be smart about it. Do not send the password as identified as such in the body of the email.
2. Use a program to send sensitive data more securely.
For example, Sharefile. Sharefile encrypts the data and keeps it safer than simply sending via email. Sharefile (and programs like it) are also good for the storage of data.
3. Use the EMV chipped credit cards and equipment.
If you are the customer, be sure to use the new credit cards with the chip. If you are the business, be sure to convert to the updated credit card reader machines (that reads the newly chipped credit cards) by October 1, 2015. See our blog on EMV chips.
4. Choose smart passwords.
Be sure to use passwords that are hard to guess. Use both upper and lower case, symbols, and make 8-12 character long. Change your passwords from time to time.
5. Be sure that you have a strong firewall and antivirus protection. This can help hackers from getting in and viruses getting onto your computer.
As we see the shift in most processes becoming digital/virtual/cloud based, it's important to keep yourself safe. Try to stay up to date on typical schemes. These are areas that constantly evolve. As the data theft evolves, ways to protect yourself will to. If you have any questions, please feel free to let us know.