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October 2, 2015
  Please Note: Our office will be closed on Friday, October 16 to celebrate getting through another tax season!
  • HALF. That's how many of the free health and fitness apps out there share your personal data with advertisers. 
  • 13th. That's Colorado's ranking in the nation for identity theft, having received over 4,500 identity theft complaints last year. 
  • 66%. The percentage of parents surveyed who said their children have made unauthorized purchases online. And one third of their kids had downloaded a virus or modified applications on their parent's computer.
  • $50. The amount a stolen medical record will sell for on the overseas black market.
What's a 21st century human to do?
Tips to Keep Your Info Secure
  1. Don't give out any part of your social security number, credit card or bank account numbers over the phone or internet unless you have initiated the contact with an organization you trust!
  2. Check for the "lock" icon on the status bar that means your information will be encrypted when you send it.
  3. Shred documents with sensitive information, follow manufacturer's directions for wiping out information on a hard drive or phone before donating or recycling.
  4. Use strong passwords!  Forget your dog's name - try using the first letters of a pleasant phrase you can remember, substituting some numbers for letters: "I used to live in SC" becomes 1u2LiSC (hey, that was a good one - dang!).
  5. Refuse to give out your social security number on medical forms and elsewhere unless it is necessary for the service being provided. You have the right to see and get a copy of your medical records, as well as the right to ask to have PII removed from the files. Read your Explanation of Benefits to check for fraudulent charges!
  6. Keep your anti-virus software, firewall, software programs and operating systems updated to protect against intrusions. And never open a file or click on a link unless you are sure of the source!
  7. Use a secure wireless network to send information - and that usually does not include coffee shops, airports, hotels or other public places.
  8. Password-protect your phone, laptop and other devices.
What about your kids?
Your children could be your biggest security risk if you're not vigilant.  Make sure you lock down every internet-connected device they can get their hands on. Pre-teens and older will need their own profiles, and you should still keep track of their access,  check browser histories and look for modified files on your computer.  Use different passwords or use an app to generate complex passwords, and make sure every purchase requires a password. Use a duplicate backup system. 
Children are also a big target for identity thieves (sometimes within their own family). Signs of fraudulent activity include offers of credit mailed to the child or identity issues when applying for schools. It is not recommended that you monitor your child's credit report annually, as that can actually create a file prematurely. Check only if you see red flags, or at age 16 before applying for college and financial aid. Click here for more information from the ID Theft Resource Center.
Bottom line: teach your children continuously about the importance of protecting their privacy online and the dangers of identity theft.


 Boulder CPA Group | | nancy@bouldercpas.com | 1790 30th Street
Suite 418
Boulder, CO 80301