How Can I Protect My Identity During Tax Season?

Tax season is upon us, but don’t worry we are not here to pester you about getting them done. Today, we’re going to talk about the four best ways to avoid identity theft during tax season. Many people don’t know that tax season is one of the most popular times for identity thieves. Luckily, it does not take a lot of effort to avoid them and protect your privacy during tax season.

Watch Your Mail
You may think that identity theft in 2018 is only a result of digital theft, but you would be wrong! Yes, the age of the internet has lead to a lot of cybercrime surrounding digital identity theft, but the tried and true method of stealing important documents right of your mailbox is still as effective today as it was twenty years ago.

Yes, it is a federal crime to steal mail, but it’s also illegal to steal someone’s identity so don’t expect that to protect you. Remember to keep an extra close eye on your mailbox during tax season. Many tax forms are still delivered by mail and thieves are sure to be on the prowl during tax season.

If you have access to a remote camera like the ones by Nest, it might be a good idea to redirect it towards your mailbox until the end of tax season.

Social Security Card
Your social security number is one of the most important tools available to you that protects your identity. That’s why it’s so important to keep that number private and safe. It’s never a good idea to keep your social security card on your person. In fact, the IRS has specifically stated that under no circumstances are you to do so. The best thing to do is to memorize your social security number then keep your social security card in a secure place like a home safe or a safety deposit box.

If you need your social security card for proof of identity remember to only keep it with you when you need it then to put it back in safe and secure location as quickly as possible. The last thing you want to do is to keep it in your wallet or purse.

Passwords
In the age of e-filing, passwords are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your identity during tax season. No matter what tool you use to file your taxes electronically, it’s important to create a unique and memorable password that you do not use for anything else.

Yes, it is a pain to come up with another password to remember, but it’s crucial during tax season. The password you use to file your taxes electronically should be lengthy, include letters, numbers and symbols. Most importantly it should not be a password that you use for anything else. Remember to change your password every tax season.

Tax Preparers
If you are using a third party to file your taxes, take the time to do your research! This is especially important if you have never used that service to file your taxes before. Many fraud rings like to use tax preparation centers as fronts. This is the worse case scenario because victims tend to voluntarily hand over all of their personal informations which not only allows the thieves to steal someone’s identity, but can also allow them to redirect your tax refund!

Tax season is one of the most dangerous times for identity theft, but it can be avoided! Take the time to do your research, and be smart with your personal information. Following the four tips we talked about here is a great place to start.