We are approaching tax season yet again and you are probably thinking about what you’re going to do with your money if you’re lucky enough to receive a refund. Some of you may be thinking about putting your money away for a rainy day or thinking about that trip you want to take this summer. I have thought about what I will do with my money and have decided to save it.
With that said, I have also thought about the potential dangers associated with identity theft and this time of year. You should keep in mind that the documents taxpayers send and receive contain all the information identity thieves look for such as your name, address, bank and financial account information, and most importantly, your Social Security number. For a fraudster, tax time provides a wealth of opportunity to commit fraud against you.
That is why I would like to share some tips with you so you can protect yourself against fraud during tax season.
• Carefully Consider your Tax Preparation: The IRS has a list of authorized e-file partners where you can check for references.
• Paper Security: Keep tax paperwork in a safe and locked location.
• Document Disposal: Put papers you no longer need through a cross-cut shredder. These include receipts, papers with credit card account and Social Security numbers, and loan documents.
• Computer Security: Since many taxpayers now file online, it’s vital that you install up to date security programs.
• Mail Theft Prevention: Be sure to retrieve your mail every day. Uncollected mail is an invitation for an identity thief especially this time of year. When mailing your tax documents, always take them directly to the Post Office.
While there is no way to completely protect against identity theft this Tax Season, you can reduce the chance that it will happen to you if you keep these simple tips in mind.