WATCH: Florida Attorney General Advises User to Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi While Preparing Tax Returns

By  //  April 14, 2022

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ABOVE VIDEO: Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi While Preparing Tax Returns to Protect Personal Information.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – With the federal tax-filing deadline just days away, Attorney General Ashley Moody is advising Floridians to refrain from using public Wi-Fi to file tax returns and when accessing personal and financial documents or apps online.

There are a multitude of ways hackers take advantage of public Wi-Fi, but most are all easily avoidable if the correct precautions are taken. Attorney General Moody is informing Floridians about common public Wi-Fi hacks and providing tips on how to avoid them.

Moody said, “Public Wi-Fi networks are commonly offered by businesses, restaurants and other locations catering to visitors.”

“Unfortunately, these networks are often unsecured, 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.”

Although there are many scams associated with public Wi-Fi, the AARP notes the two most common are the Evil Twin Attack and the Man in the Middle Attack.

The Evil Twin Attack is when a hacker creates a Wi-Fi network with a similar name as a business’ public Wi-Fi. The Man in the Middle Attack is when a hacker lines up between a user and the network router and intercepts data.

Both schemes give hackers the ability to track online movements and sift through a victim’s device in search of personal or financial information.

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.

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