10 Tips to Avoid Tax-Time ID Theft

When is the one time during the year you have every single financial document in one place?

Answer: Tax time!

Here are tips from WhatHappensNow and our interview with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:

  1. Start a Tax Folder – Keep all of your tax forms, files and scratch paper together in a folder or binder. Keep the folder safe and with you at all times.
  2. Extra Documents – Need a copy of old tax returns, filing instructions or other important information? Head to IRS.gov for fact sheets and other publications.
  3. Don’t Throw! Shred! - Throwing away old records? Use a cross-cut shredder before discarding. Make sure you know what to keep and what to toss: read the IRS’s information on how long you should keep your records.
  4. Phishing for Information
    Watch out for “phishing” e-mail scams. These fraudulent emails might look like they’re coming from a financial or government institution (IRS) but are really scammers trying to get your personal or financial information.
  5. E-filing
    Check your to see if your spyware and anti-virus software is turned on and up-to-date before entering data and sending off your completed forms.
  6. Direct deposit refunds or payments
    Make sure to double-triple-quadruple check your account and routing numbers on your paper or online forms before sending them in.
  7. Keep Copies
    Make sure to keep copies of all the forms and returns you send in.
  8. Sending Tax Returns or Checks by Mail
    Do not leave outgoing checks or mail with sensitive information in your mailbox – they could be stolen. Instead, avoid mail theft by mailing all items at the post office.
  9. Refunds in the Mail
    If you’re expecting a refund or important information, pick up your mail as soon as you have the chance. If you’re headed out of town, arrange for your mail to be held at the post office or have a friend or neighbor pick it up.
  10. Think you might be a victim of ID theft? Read this.

– Susan

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