Protecting your identity is becoming more important and harder to do each year. I have listed some relatively simple common-sense steps to take to help you accomplish this daunting task.
- File your tax return early. The earlier you file the less time the fraudsters have to file for you. File as soon as possible to reduce the chances that criminals file under your social security number.
- Filing electronically doesn’t necessarily expose you to more risk.
- Use a secure internet connection, not a public Wi-Fi connection at libraries, coffee shops, or hotels.
- Use a secure website to file your taxes. The web address should contain an “s” in its Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (i.e. https).
- If you are filing online yourself, type in the URL. Don’t use a link that could send you to a fraudulent website created to mimic a legitimate site.
- Never take a photo of documents with sensitive information on it like, your social security number. Photos are too easily accessed by the bad guys.
- Don’t send sensitive information through unsecured email. Once again, the hackers can access this information too easily.
- Use professional preparers who have a secure encrypted portal and don’t request information from your phone or email.
- If you are physically mailing a paper return, bring it directly to the post office. This reduces the chance that confidential information is acquired before your return has been sent to the post office.
- Always avoid clicking on email attachments from unknown sources.
These are a few measures you can take to reduce the likelihood that you become a victim of identity theft. Good luck, and safe filing!
By David M. Snyder, CPA, ASBC
The Tax Axe, LLC
David Mitchell Snyder, CPA, LLC