Recent News Events Create Opportunity to Review Your Social Media Presence

SM-Friend-or-Foe-300x300Many of you may have seen news stories this past weekend of a list containing the names, addresses, and photos of 100 current U.S. service members.

The list was compiled with the respective addresses and photos based off of information obtained through social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

In light of these events it is highly recommended you review your current online footprint, particularly in regard to social media sites. Furthermore, have a conversation with your families about Operational Security (OPSEC) and how we all need to be careful about what we post online. There are real threats out there, and it is important that we do what we can do to mitigate our exposure.

Here some easy steps you can take to help ensure your security online:

  • Understand your privacy settings. Go look at the current privacy settings you have established on the social media sites you use and remember that the safest setting for any site is “only friends”. In our resource section below are smart cards for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
  • Don’t friend people you don’t know. It sounds simple but think about how many people you may be friends with online that you don’t really know. If you don’t know them, then why are you linked in with them?
  • Limit the use of applications. Applications can be a great help, but they can also be a liability. For example, a past study revealed that many of Facebook’s most popular applications were transmitting personal user information to outside servers.
  • Protect your location. It is important that you do not “check in” and let the world know where you are, particularly at home, your friends’ houses, or at work.
  • Don’t overshare. The internet doesn’t forget anything – and nothing really gets deleted – so be careful about what you share. It is much easier to just not share something than it is to get that information back once it has been broadcasted in cyberspace.

Resources:

As always, force protection is a primary concern. It is important that we all remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to base security forces, Air Force OSI, or the local police.

Daylight Saving Time Steals an Hour This Sunday, March 8th

nGl23qjIf you think you never have enough time on the weekends, you definitely are not going to like this weekend. It’s Daylight Saving Time again, and this isn’t the fun one as we turn the clocks forward an hour.

The official change of time begins at 2 A.M.  on the morning of Sunday, March 8th, 2015. Be sure to set your clocks ahead by 1 hour before you go to bed on Saturday Night.

Daylight saving time is currently adopted in over 70 countries and imposes a twice yearly 1 hour change in local clock time. Many assume that the time change only affects your sleep pattern that night, but a study out of England suggests that the seemingly small one-hour shift in the sleep cycle can affect sleep for up to a week. In my opinion, I know I didn’t need a study to tell me that.

Either way you see it, don’t forget to turn your clocks forward one hour so that you aren’t late for anything on Sunday!

Kids Deployment Line – Saturday, April 18th

KDL2015_400The Airman & Family Services Flight celebrates Month of the Military Child with a Kids Deployment Line.

Kids in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade will be able to process through the deployment center and then be reunited with their families.

There will be activities at the Pride Hangar for everyone not deploying.

Visit http://www.ellsworthafrc.org/kdl for more information on the event and how to register!

 

Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Tax Identity Theft

456932192_89f66d45c6This week is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Tax identity theft happens when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund or a job. Here are some tips to help you lessen the chance you’ll be a victim and learn what to do if you are.

Tip #1:  File early in the tax season — if you can — to get your refund before identity thieves do. When you file, make sure you use a secure internet connection or mail your tax return directly from the post office to make it more difficult for thieves to get their hands on your personal information. Learn more at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and irs.gov/identitytheft.

Tip #2: What should you do if you think your Social Security number has been stolen? Or if you get a letter from the IRS saying more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that IRS records show wages from an employer you don’t know? Call the IRS Identity Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. Report the fraud and ask for IRS ID Theft Affidavit Form 14039.  If you are a tax identity theft victim, the IRS may give you a personal PIN number to verify your identity and protect your file going forward. Learn more at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and irs.gov/identitytheft.

Tip #3: Have you heard about IRS imposters? Tax scammers posing as the IRS call and say you owe taxes, and threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay right away. They might know all or part of your Social Security number, and they can rig caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. Before you can investigate, they tell you to put the money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the card number. The IRS won’t ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone. If the IRS needs to contact you, they will first do it by mail. If you have any doubts, call the IRS directly. Learn more at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and irs.gov/identitytheft.

Tip #4: Here are some other tips to lessen the chance you’ll be a victim of tax identity theft:

  • Always protect your Social Security number or Medicare card number: don’t give it out unless you have to, and always ask why it’s needed, how it’s going to be used, and how it will be stored.
  • Shred old taxes returns you’re no longer required to keep, as well as draft returns, extra copies, and calculation sheets.
  • Ask for recommendations and research tax preparers before you turn your personal information over to them.

Tip #5: Once tax identity thieves have your Social Security number and personal information, they can use them to commit other forms of identity theft, such as opening new financial accounts in your name. For steps you can take to deal with identity theft, go to ftc.gov/idtheft. Also remember to check your credit report annually. It’s free at annualcreditreport.com.