Strong Passwords Help Keep Tax Data Safe

The following article was published by the IRS.

Passwords are often the key to guarding access to personal information and data stored on computers or sent over email. Because most taxpayers file their returns electronically and access account information online, it is critical for taxpayers to not only create strong passwords for all tax-related accounts, but to do everything in their power to protect those passwords.

Here are seven things taxpayers should consider when creating and protecting passwords:

  • Longer passwords are safer and more difficult to guess. A strong password should be a minimum of eight characters. It should include a combination of letters, numbers, symbols and special characters.
  • A password should include at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number, and one symbol or character.
  • Taxpayers should not include personal information in passwords.  A criminal can find names of siblings, friends, children and pets on social media sites. This makes it easier for cybercriminals to figure out a person’s password that includes these names.
  • Avoid using the same password for all information systems, accounts and devices. If someone does guess one password, they will not have access to all the other accounts.
  • Taxpayers can substitute numbers and symbols for letters in words or phrases to make it more difficult for a thief to guess a password.
  • People should never share passwords.
  • Taxpayers should be careful of attempts to trick you into revealing your password.
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About cozbycpa

Heather L. Cozby is a CPA on the South Shore and Cape Cod. The managing partner of Cozby & Company, LLC, Heather has the resources and experience necessary to provide quality professional services on a timely basis and at a reasonable cost. She specializes in tax planning & preparation; audit, review & compilation services; management advisory services; bookkeeping; and accounting. Her unique niche is in working with homeowners’ associations and condominium trusts, advising with rental real estate, and providing outsourced financial consulting for mid-sized companies. She is more entrepreneurial than most accountants, and offers the best of both worlds - providing the services of a larger firm while retaining the ability to connect with her clients on a personal level.
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