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NY Tax Department: Beware Of “Cyber Grinches” This Holiday Season

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The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance reminds New Yorkers to be wary of “cyber grinches” while shopping online or donating to charities this holiday season.

They’re offering special tips for staying secure online this holiday season, a few of which you may not too often think about.

One includes making sure your web browser contains “https” and not just “http” in the beginning of your entered web address. This ensures a proper connection and increased security when dealing with your financial accounts or transactions.

They also suggest refraining from saving your personal information in “auto-fill” forms that plug in to various websites you use it for.

While it may save time, it may also put your information at risk to cyber thieves in the long run.

Other tips from the Tax Department:

Use strong passwords:

Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols, when creating a new password. Don’t use your name, birthdate, or common words. Use a different password for each of your accounts.

Use secure wireless networks:

Always encrypt your wireless network with a strong password. Never access your personal accounts on a public Wi-Fi network.

Know who you’re dealing with:

Be familiar with the companies you’re purchasing from and the charities you’re donating to. Limit your activity to those you know and trust. If you’re unsure whether to trust an online retailer, you can check with the Better Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission. You can also verify New York-based charitable organizations with the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Review privacy policies:

Review the privacy policy for the business or organization you’re visiting to determine what information the merchant is collecting about you, how it will be stored and used, and if it will be shared with others.

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