With tax season coming up, TikTok’s looking to help users keep themselves safe online with the latest iteration of its #BeCyberSmart digital tips series.
Partnering with a range of accountants, lawyers, and fraud fighters, TikTok will look to promote a range of tips and tactics that can help users avoid online scams.
@ian.t.mitchell_ Advice from my son Leif about watching out for tax fraud. His real reactions… maybe a future fraud fighter like dad? @theknoble #becybersmart ♬ Too Good To Be True - Ian Mitchell
As explained by TikTok:
“Last year, the IRS identified over $10 billion in losses from tax fraud and financial crimes. With Tax Day around the corner, cybercriminals may be primed to unleash a range of nefarious tactics -- whether on a connected device or a landline -- to trick people into unwittingly handing out sensitive information.”
In line with the new push, TikTok is advising users to:
- Ignore imposters – With phishing being one of the most common tactics used to steal personal data, TikTok says that people need to be aware of who they’re sharing their information with. “The IRS will not call, text, email, or visit your home. They will not accept payment in gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency”. TikTok also advises people not to open links or attachments from suspicious senders.
- Verify what you see – With a raft of fake IRS sites popping up all over the web, TikTok says that people need to be extra cautious in their browsing. “The official site is IRS.gov, and all IRS.gov web page addresses begin with http://www.irs.gov/.” TikTok also says that people should only use eCommerce sites that are secured via https.
- Use secure Wi-Fi, VPN, and 2-step verification – This should be a given, considering the amount of personal info we now share online, but if you haven’t activated two-step verification as yet, the tie is now. Also, don't trust unsecured public wi-fi, “especially in airplanes, airports, malls, or public transit”.
- Have a back-up plan – TikTok says that people should use a secure cloud service or external hard drive to copy important information, like photos and files on computers and mobile devices.
- Protect with a PIN – Finally, TikTok advises people to validate their identity with an Identity Protection PIN where possible.
These and more tips will be featured in the various #BeCyberSmart safety tips, which will be highlighted on TikTok over the next month – while TikTok’s also put together a Bingo card as another way for people to brush up on their cybersecurity skills.
In addition to this, TikTok’s also calling for users to report scam activity if and when they see it.
“Reporting potential scams helps prevent future attempts and protect others. Report IRS, Treasury, or other scam attempts to the FTC, IRS, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or Identity Theft Resource Center. If you encounter suspicious activity in-app, report it to TikTok's Safety Center, and follow @TikTokTips for more ways to #BeCyberSmart.”
This is some good, timely advice, and it’s good to see TikTok looking to use its platform to raise awareness of these increasingly common attacks and risks.
You can learn more tips by following the #BeCyberSmart hashtag in the app.