Tax season: the most wonderful time of the year—for identity thieves. While you are at home filing forms and gathering all of your personal information, thieves are scheming to get a hold of your identity.
Tax season leaves many vulnerable to identity theft. Just think about it. Everything from your Social Security number to your employer and income information is written down for the entire world to see. Ok, well, maybe not the “world” per se, but it is important that you treat this valuable information with care. Identity thieves hope that stress, combined with that dreaded April 15th deadline, will act as their allies and cause you to be hasty and irresponsible with your important information.
Don’t give thieves the chance to steal your identity this tax season and take these precautions.
- Keep an eye on your mailbox, especially during tax season. Your mailbox can be a gold mine for identity thieves. Don’t leave your mail sitting in your mailbox and retrieve it as close to its delivery as possible.
- When you’re out of town, have the post office hold your mail for you or have someone you trust pick it up every day.
- Don’t put outgoing mail in your mailbox. Use United States Postal Service mailboxes instead, or better yet, drop off your mail inside a post office.
- Use a locked mailbox with a slot at home, if at all possible.
- Don’t put your outgoing mail in an unguarded “outbox” at work.
- If you are filing taxes online, be sure that you are using a reputable and secure website.
- Be cautious of who helps you prepare your taxes. Make sure they are trustworthy and credible.
- Don’t fall for scams. This year the government is sending out rebate checks. The only thing you need to do in order to receive the rebate is file your taxes. They will not contact you and ask for any personal information.
Although tax season heightens the threat of identity theft, it is important to take the necessary precautions and protect your identity all year round. To find more helpful tips on how you can keep yourself safe, visit www.ncpc.org, www.usdoj.gov, and www.ftc.gov.