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5 ways to protect you and your family from hackers
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While Americans are essentially required to trust certain government entities, like the IRS, with their personal data, there are some steps people can take to avoid having their identities stolen on a much smaller scale. - photo by Shelby Slade
A group of hackers gained access to more than 100,000 IRS user accounts, which contain sensitive personal data, the IRS announced in a statement Tuesday.

The hackers were able to access this data using some previously secured information, which made it easy for them to pass through multiple levels of security checks before stealing information like date of birth, address and Social Security Number.

While Americans are essentially required to trust certain government entities, like the IRS, with their personal data, there are some steps people can take to avoid having their identities stolen on a much smaller scale.

Check your monthly credit card and bank statements

One quick and obvious way to ensure people havent gotten access to your accounts is to check your monthly bank statements and watch for unusual purchases that you did not make, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Request a credit check and verify the information listed there

The Wall Street Journal reports that everyone is entitled to a free credit report each year from Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. They advise requesting these reports and looking for information that doesnt fit your habits or things you have done.

Have virus protection installed on all your devices

Having computer viruses is one of the easiest ways to expose yourself to hackers. Have firewalls and virus protection that are up-to-date installed on all your devices.

Be aware of who you share your information with and how

The Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to be aware of what information they are giving out at all times. If a person or website requests a Social Security Number, think about how much the site should be trusted and why they need it. Dont overshare on social media either. These are easy ways for your information to fall into the wrong hands. Lastly, make sure you use a secure WiFi connection when transferring or submitting personal information and online banking.

Create strong passwords, even if they are harder to remember

The FTC suggests that rather than reusing passwords develop strong passwords, which are a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Perhaps think of a phrase and then abbreviate it and add numbers to make it stronger making it harder to remember but extra secure.