We use our devices to learn, communicate, and live our lives. It’s easy to forget how much information we store on our devices, and it’s why we should take time to understand safe measures! Here are 7 dos and don’ts to help you keep your information safe.
- Protect yourself online by using certified software, updating passwords, installing updates, and avoiding unprotected Wi-Fi networks.
- The best way to prevent yourself from getting scammed is to recognize when you’re being contacted by an imposter.
- If something goes wrong, make sure you have a plan of action and alert the authorities.
1. Do use NETFILE for secure online filing
A NETFILE certification confirms that the software has undergone testing by the CRA and Revenu Québec. NETFILE ensures that information sent from your computer to the CRA is encrypted, and can’t be accessed by a third party.
2. Don’t use public Wi-Fi
If you’re planning to file taxes at a local coffee shop or your library, think again. Using unsecured internet connections, such as public Wi-Fi, while inputting information such as bank accounts, addresses, SIN, can be accessed by the same people on the network, which puts your info at risk.
If you’re unable to use a secure internet connection from home, always use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi. This will help protect your identity and information online.
3. Do update your device software
Whether you’re planning to file your taxes using your phone or computer, always make sure you have the latest software updates installed. This will make sure your device has the latest security features installed, and will make it less likely for your devices to be accessed by online intruders.
4. Don’t leave files unprotected
Filing your taxes online means you’ll be saving important files to your computer or device, such as your tax slips, paycheques, receipts, etc. These files contain sensitive information that online intruders can use to steal your identity and benefits.
To best protect your files:
- Store them in the “Documents” section of your computer instead of just on your Desktop.
- Make sure you have antivirus programs installed on your device.
- Consider encrypting your files by placing a password on them, which makes it much more difficult to read the information on your files if leaked.
5. Do protect yourself from scams
Recently, the CRA has been cracking down on scam operations in Canada. These scams consist of individuals posing as CRA agents, asking for personal information over the phone. They may accuse you of owing tax payments or large fines.
A strong majority of these scams occur over the phone, but it’s also possible to receive fake emails as well.
Regardless of who contacts you, always follow these security tips:
- Never give out passwords, PINs, or SIN number through texts, messages, or emails.
- The CRA will never ask for personal information over email.
- A CRA agent will not offer to apply for benefits on your behalf over the phone.
- If you believe the reason you’re being contacted isn’t correct, trust your gut. Ask for a number to call back.
- Verify that the individual calling you is working for the CRA by asking for a name, phone number, and office location, which can be verified online.
- A CRA agent will never ask you to provide other forms of payment such as gift cards, cryptocurrency, credit card, etc.
- A CRA agent will not pressure you into making big decisions in a short time frame.
6. Don’t forget to update passwords
One of the most common ways intruders gain access to your computers and phones is by simply guessing the right password.
Most users simply reuse the same password across all of their accounts. You can check online if your password has been leaked in a data breach on popular websites such as Have I Been Pwned.
Make sure you update your password regularly to limit the chances of someone guessing it and accessing your accounts.
7. Do have a plan of action
Even if you’ve taken all the steps to protect yourself, sometimes things don’t work out. It’s always important to have a plan of action so that in case of an emergency, you’ll know who to report to, and what you can do to help prevent damage.
If you believe you’re a victim of a scam, immediately contact your local police service, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies.
- To report a scam, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
- If you believe your SIN number was stolen, contact Service Canada at 1-866-274-6627.
- If you believe your CRA login information is compromised, contact the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
Always monitor your accounts and activity. If you notice something suspicious going on, such as unusual banking transactions, report these activities immediately.
At TurboTax, we work hard to safeguard your information so you can file your taxes worry-free. Your data is encrypted when it’s stored in our systems and when your return is in transit to the CRA.
I have used [TurboTax] for four years and cannot say enough about how great they are. I am completely secure knowing my information is private.