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 the IRS says 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.