How are you staying safe as you file your taxes this year? Read on to learn key privacy tips for optimal tax season identity protection.
Consumers are at an advantage with the many available methods to file their tax returns. Whether it’s electronic filing, self-service software solutions, or using a tax professional, all come with their advantages, but it also means more ways for identity thieves to take advantage of the exchange of sensitive information. Here’s what you can do to stay safe this tax season.
If you file electronically…
Double check to make sure that your spyware and anti-virus definitions are up to date. Run a spyware and malware check, and employ the use of a firewall before transmitting any data. If you’re using a hosted service, be sure that the service uses encryption technology and a secure server.
If you use one of the many walk-in tax services…
It’s important to scope out any walk-in facility for your own privacy and security. How is the office? Is it organized? Are files locked away? Are conversations happening with other people around, or can you talk freely about your personal information away from other ears? Are computer monitors visible or out of view? Does the facility routinely shred documents?
If you’re sending your returns via postal mail…
Be sure to send your tax returns during business hours. Never leave stamped documents in an overnight box. Pay the extra fee for certified mail with a return receipt to ensure your returns will get to where they need to go. Don’t leave these documents in an outgoing box for anyone to pick up.
Keep a record of your W2s, 1099s, and other important tax documents.
Before you file, make sure you have all of the documents necessary. Are you missing any W2s? Did your client send you a 1099? Did your mortgage servicer send an annual interest statement? If anything is missing, it could mean that you are at risk for identity theft. Confirm that all pertinent documents were sent to you.
When it’s time to toss old tax returns, be sure to shred anything containing personal info. Home shredders are not recommended because they merely crosscut documents, which are easily pieced together by thieves. Legal Shred can come to your place of business or home for a one-time shredding service. Our mobile shredding trucks can shred more paper more efficiently, making the documents themselves useless and unable to be used again.
Knowing that your tax documents are being taken care by professionals will give you the greatest peace of mind, which we feel is the greatest benefit to our mobile shredding services. Legal Shred handles your tax information in the most professional and secure way, and we provide a certificate of destruction upon completion.
Other Legal Shred tax season identity protection resources:
- Tax Season Identity Protection: Tips to Stay Safe
- The Legal Shred Identity Theft Survival Guide
- Identity Theft Statistics – ID Theft Hits All-time High in 2016
- The Various Types of Identity Theft