Are you worried that you might become the victim of identity theft this tax season? During tax season many people find that they fall prey to scam artists or identity thieves, especially as there is so much information going around. But there are some ways that you can avoid identity theft through tax season as long as you are careful and conscientious.
1. Work Directly With An Accountant
Many individuals found that their identifiable information was stolen through the use of self-serve online tax sites. It's often safer to go directly through an accounting firm, as they will keep all of your data secured at their offices. While there are many safe self-service online tax sites, you need to be very cautious regarding the ones that you do use. Always ask them about their security protocols and whether they've had any recent breaches.
2. Check Your Mail Regularly
During tax season, a significant amount of mail will be sent to you with your information on it—including your wage information and any other relevant data which could be used to steal your identity or sign up for credit cards. Make sure you check your mail and inquire if there is any mail that you were expecting that you did not receive. If possible, it's usually safer to request digital copies.
3. Secure Your Email Address
Many people get their tax documents emailed them today. Others will use their email address to log into secured accounts where they can download their tax info. Often, this means that your data is only as secure as your email account. Make sure you change your password regularly and that you act quickly if you find that your email has been compromised. Likewise, you should change your other account passwords on a regular basis.
4. Lock Down Your Credit File
If you're very concerned, you can always lock down your credit file. This will mean that no one—ncluding you—will be able to open new accounts without going through additional steps to verify your identity. Locking down your credit file through tax season or even permanently can be very useful, especially if you don't expect to procure new credit any time soon. But don't forget that some things such as mobile phones may also require credit checks.
In many cases, identity theft really isn't too difficult to deal with. Often you will simply need to call the bank and your credit agency to sort it out. Still, it can be financially dangerous, especially if you don't notice it until much later. Taking steps to secure your identity is always a good idea. Talk to a professional like Myron E Triska Chartered Accountant for more information.