Monthly Archives: January 2016

IRS Recommendations for Keeping Tax Records Secure

Posted by Clayton Bellot on January 20, 2016
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Here are just a few of the easy and practical steps to better protect your tax records:

  • File your tax returns early. This prevents identity thieves from being able to make a false claim on your behalf and reduces future headaches when attempting to file in the years to come.
  • Always retain a copy of your completed federal and state tax returns and their supporting materials. These prior-year returns will help you prepare your next year’s taxes, and receipts will document any credits or deductions you claim should question arise later.
  • If you retain paper records, you should keep them in a secure location, preferably under lock and key, such as a secure desk drawer or a safe.
  • If you retain you records electronically on your computer, you should always have an electronic back-up, in case your hard drive crashes. You should encrypt the files both on your computer and any back-up drives you use. You may have to purchase encryption software to ensure the files’ security.
  • Dispose of old tax records properly. Never toss paper tax returns and supporting documents into the trash. Your federal and state tax records, as well as any financial or health records should be shredded before disposal.
  • If you are disposing of an old computer or back-up hard drive, keep in mind there is sensitive data on these. Deleting stored tax files will not remove them from your computer. You should wipe the drives of any electronic product you trash or sell, including tablets and mobile phones, to ensure you remove all personal data. Again, this may require special disk utility software.


Scammers Using Dell Service Tag Information

Posted by Clayton Bellot on January 19, 2016
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In a fairly recent posting on ArsTechnica, users have been reporting a scam similar to the Microsoft scam in which scammers posing as support technicians are using specific information to win your trust. In this particular case, however, the information being used is Dell’s Service Tag which is typically used for support.

Dell is aware of this scam and issued an advisory last October with instructions for reporting through Dell’s website.

January is National Cyber Stalking Awareness Month

Posted by Clayton Bellot on January 12, 2016
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The best defense against cyber stalking is to avoid oversharing information – especially online. Here are some basic tips from the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign, the Department of Homeland Security’s national cyber security awareness program, to keep in mind when sharing online.

  1. Don’t broadcast your location. Do not activate location or geo-tagging features on your devices. You could be telling a stalker exactly where to find you.
  2. Connect only with people you trust. While some social networks might seem safer for connecting because of the limited personal information shared through them, keep your connections to people you know and trust.
  3. Keep certain things private from everyone. Certain information should be kept completely off your social networks. While it’s fun to have everyone wish you a happy birthday, or for long-lost friends to reconnect with you online, listing your date of birth with your full name and address provides potential stalkers with crucial information that could give them further access to you.
  4. Be thoughtful about what you share. Be aware that when you share a post, picture or video online, you may also be revealing sensitive information about yourself and others. You don’t own anything you post online, and people could use your information, photos, or content for malicious purposes.

To find out how you can support National Stalking Awareness Month or find out more information on stalking, please visit the National Stalking Resource Center and the National Stalking Awareness Month website.

Microsoft Ends Support for Internet Explorer Prior to Version 11

Posted by Clayton Bellot on January 05, 2016
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After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. For example, customers using Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, or Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 SP1 should migrate to Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support. For more details regarding support timelines on Windows and Windows Embedded, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle site.

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