Tips for cleaning up your public profile
Now more than ever, employers use the internet to research candidates for hiring or admission. Do what you can to make the most of your public image.
1. Search Yourself!
See what others see about you online by running your own search. Before running your search, log out of your browser and clear you cache and search history, so search engines pick up the same information a new searcher will see. Search fo your name on major web browser and social networks. View your social media profile as "public" to see what people who are not friends or followers would see.
2. Clean up what you can.
If you find photos, posts and personal information in your social media accounts that you'd prefer not to share with the world, delete them or check your privacy settings to ensure they're not visible to anyone outside your social network. If you find photos or other content on websites where you don't have any control, contact the website's administrator and ask them to remove the content.
3. Make the most of your online presence with new content.
New content ranks higher on search engines, plus it gives you the opportunity to update your social media with things you want prospective employers to see. Update your profile on career sites, build a personal resume site or start a new blog to show off your professional smarts!
4. Ditch the data brokers!
There are companies who scan the internet for personal information and offer the data they find to the public for free or for a fee. If there "people search" sites come up when you search for your name, visit their sites and opt out to keep your information private.
Wi-Fi is a convenient way to stay connected to the internet, but be sure you're not divulging personal information to hackers.
TIP #1: WATCH OUT FOR FAKE WI-FI HOTSPOTS
We all love free Wi-Fi provided by hotels, airports and coffee shops, but beware of hackers who set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots. They'll get you connected, then steal your information. Be sure to check the authenticity of any Wi-Fi connection and don't use public Wi-Fi for anything related to personal finance, sur as checking your account balances, or making transactions or payments. An if you need to work on a public Wi-Fi, encrypt all your data by connecting through your company's Virtual Private Network (VPN).
TIP#2: LOCK UP YOUR WI-FI
Keep hackers from compromising your home or work Wi-Fi by making sure it's secured with password access. When setting up your Wi-Fi, remember not to use personal information in the password or network name to keep it anonymous and more secure.
You're a safe person. You buckle your seatbelt. You look both ways. You exercise. You take vitamins. But when it comes to digital security, chances are you're vulnerable. For example, it's very likely that your Amazon password is your Gmail password is your bank password is your eBay password is—well, you get the picture. If that’s not the case, are you using your dogs name, kids birthdays or your anniversary date?
When's the last time you changed your passwords, or at least took a good look at how many systems or services you're using old, busted, insecure passwords with? Well, today is Change Your Password Day, and we're on a mission to make sure that you take the time to beef up your security, upgrade your password system, and most importantly, change your passwords now
The solution is as simple as changing your habits. Just five minutes can save you hours of trouble, and hundreds—maybe thousands—of dollars down the line. So go ahead: change your password. Keep what’s yours, yours.
Although passwords aren't as strong a protection as they used to be, they're still the frontline of our defense against cyber thieves, so it's worth the few minutes it takes to make your password as strong as possible.
As a refresher, Intel's blog notes that length is more important than complexity when choosing a password: "The password 'Br3ak1ead&7' would take a computer three days to crack, at 1,000 guesses per second. Meanwhile, the seemingly simple 'thunder showers before sunset' password, would take the same computer, guessing at the same rate, 550 years to crack." You want to use the strongest possible passwords especially for accounts such as your email address and financial accounts. And never use the same password on multiple sites.
Think you've mastered the perfect password? Challenge your friends and find out who's hackable and who's uncrackable with this password challenge from intel
Take the challenge now! Let us know how you did by posting on our facebook page! #TwistPasswordChallenge
You're not the only one who's busy at year end. With tax season upon us, scammers are working overtime to create new, slicker ways to trick you into divulging personal data in order to steal your money and identity. Watch out for these popular tricks aimed at catching you off guard.
Email scams take many forms, but the best ones come from email addresses that sound legitimate like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. They use the IRS logo with names and signatures of actual IRS executives. If you click on a link within the email, it takes you to a site that looks just like the official IRS website and asks you to provide personal information such as name, address, bank account number, PIN, social security number, or even your mother's maiden name or your place of birth. Often the emails contain misspellings or ungrammatical phrasing common to non-native English speakers, a red flag that it originates overseas. Some of the specific hooks they use to trick you include...
1. Economic Stimulus. The fraudster claims the government has just announced a new, easier way to receive refunds as part of the Economic Stimulus program. To take advantage of it, all you need to do is have your refund direct deposited through an online form. It adds a sense of urgency by saying refunds will be delayed if the online form is not completed by a certain date.
2. Take the survey. In this scam, you're invited to participate in an IRS customer satisfaction survey that pays you $80. It starts with standard questions but ends with asking for your account details so they can credit you the $80.
3. Return errors. This email states that your return has inaccuracies that will delay your refund. For example, your social security number filed does not match the IRS records, or you forgot to sign and date the return. You are asked to confirm personal details before the return can be accepted.
4. You're under investigation. This fraud preys on the fear of every tax-paying American - an IRS investigation. It claims the IRS suspects you of tax fraud and as part of its investigation it demands answers to personal data.
5. Additional refund due. This scheme claims you're owed a refund just discovered by a recent IRS recalculation. It's usually an odd, but legitimate-sounding amount like $156.29. In order to claim it, you must submit a form accessed via a link. Clicking on the link automatically downloads malware that enables crooks to spy and collect your passwords and logins.
If any of this happens to you, email the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org to lodge a complaint.
Although phone scams typically target seniors, they can trick any unsuspecting soul.
1. Social security refund. The fakers tell the victim they can get his or her Social Security payroll taxes refunded for an upfront fee based on the size of the refund. Of course, the refund is inflated as is their upfront fee. The problem is, the law doesn't allow a refund of taxes paid into Social Security.
2. Early bird reward. The caller offers a reward for filing your return early. All you need to do is provide your bank details. They'll even get you on a three-way call with your bank to "help" ensure you'll be properly credited.
The IRS doesn't reward early birds, and for official business they NEVER contact taxpayers via email. They may send out emails with general information, but they will never request personal information online. It uses US Mail for all authorized communication. The only official IRS site is www.irs.gov. You should never go there by clicking on a link but only by typing the address directly into your browser. Tax refunds are strictly obtained through an annual tax return, not a separate application form or any other process. Never give out personal information to unknown callers via the phone.
Start preparing now
Whether you're an early or last minute filer, there's a lot to be aware of this tax season. Stay on the look out and make sure you've got everything lined up to make year-end preparation less taxing. Twists OP has an enormous array of official IRS tax forms and materials to streamline the process. Make your list, check it twice and call them today!
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