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Ask the Cougar

Cyber Safety and Tax Season

By Monica Lavin
Posted on 15 April 2014 | 8:50 am

The end of tax season is the prime time for hackers. If you file your taxes electronically, Information Technology would like to offer a few helpful tips during this time.

  • Never provide your Social Security Number (SSN) over email, even to a legitimate company with a legitimate reason to ask for it, unless the email is encrypted on both sides.
  • If you receive an email that contains personal identifiable information (PII), you should not reply or forward the email until you have deleted all of the PII.
  • If you simply MUST email a document, redact or remove the first five digits of your SSN before you send it. The format would look like this: XXX-XX-1234.
  • Be cautious of phishing emails asking you to log-in and check the status of a tax return. The hackers are hoping that you provide personal or financial information. Don’t take the bait!

Please note that if you send personal information over email, it’s possible for any number of people to grab it in transit.

As always, we encourage you to review the College of Charleston Privacy Policy (http://policy.cofc.edu/documents/11.1.pdf) and the Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Policy (http://policy.cofc.edu/documents/10.19.pdf) before you send information via College email systems.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Information Technology Helpdesk at (843) 953-3375 or by emailing helpdesk@cofc.edu.

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