Waiting on your tax refund? Thieves are too if you use a public Wi-Fi

Hacker (WKMG 2021)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Monday is the deadline to file income taxes. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning about using public Wi-Fi to file electronically.

Moody warns there are many ways hackers take advantage of public Wi-Fi.

“Public Wi-Fi networks are commonly offered by businesses, restaurants and other locations catering to visitors. Unfortunately, these networks are often unsecure, and hackers can take advantage of vulnerable connections. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks to prevent hackers from stealing your personal and financial information—especially if you plan to file your taxes now through the fast-approaching filing deadline. Hackers know millions of Americans will be searching for financial information and will use the occasion to target inspecting taxpayers, ” said Moody.

Attorney General Moody recommends Floridians use the following tips to protect personal and financial information while using public internet sources:

  • Never file taxes or access apps that contain personal or financial information;
  • Do not stay permanently logged in to accounts—even if an app is running in the background, a hacker could still access the information;
  • Use a cellular connection if accessing private information in public is necessary;
  • Only access websites that begin with ‘https’ rather than ‘http’—the ‘s’ stands for secure—or have a padlock next to the URL; and
  • Research and install browser encryption features.

The Federal Trade Commission provides additional tips on how to safely use public Wi-Fi networks. For more information, click here.

To report public Wi-Fi scams, visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Website or call (877) 438-4338.