Five Ways to Protect Against Identity Theft via Tax Information

With the new year come the new worries about taxes – what kind of taxes will you need to file before April 15th, how much money will you have to pay, what bracket did you place in, etc. Unfortunately, you also need to worry about protecting your identity. As Privacyrights.org notes, your IRS information returns might constitute an identity thief’s “dream.”

None of us want to become a “dream” target for any kind of thief, let alone an identity thief. So while you’re figuring out the right returns to send to the IRS, this is also a great time to take steps to ensure the protection of your identity.

Five Recommendatations for Keeping Tax Info Safe

  1. Guard your mail. Once your mail leaves your hands, it’s at the mercy of the people who handle it – so make sure you get it in the hands of the right people. Take your sensitive mail directly to the post office and make sure that when you check your mail, you don’t leave it in your mailbox – you retrieve it as soon as possible after it’s delivered or consider a locking mailbox.You should also look at a mail service like EarthClassMail.com – especially if you’re away on travel or vacation.
  2. Don’t keep tax information loose around the house or car. Let’s face it: there aren’t many places you’ll keep your tax information except a few places, like the house, car, or office. So make sure you don’t get cavalier about these locations. Make sure you can lock important documents away at home and that you protect them in your car and office.
  3. Only deal with legitimate government organizations. Whether you like it or not, you have to pay your taxes and you have to report your information to the government. But you don’t have to report it to just about everybody else, so protect your information by dealing directly with the IRS and worrying less about third parties.
  4. Protect your SSN. Your social security number is a big target for identity thieves, and since taxes contain your SSN, you’re going to want to be careful about making sure they’re secure. Do a search on your computer for your SSN and archive any documents onto a CD and delete the files from your computer.
  5. Keep your accounts and papers tidy. It’s harder to guard yourself if you’re a hoarder with mounds of papers on his desk, so make sure that you keep things simple – this will help you find your important documents, which helps you protect them.

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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