Identity theft prevention provider Identity Finder provided a set of tips for protecting taxpayer information during tax season.
“Hackers and identity thieves view tax season as a prime opportunity because so much private data is being shared electronically,” said Identity Finder CEO Todd Feinman in a statement. "It is important for individuals to be aware of the risks associated, and steps that can be taken to protect personal information."
11 Tips for Secure Tax Filing:
1. Password-protect all electronic tax returns. Always create complex passwords and never save them unprotected, including PDF or Excel files.
2. Don't send tax documents, Social Security numbers, or bank numbers via email to an accountant, spouse or anyone, unless they are encrypted.
3. If you receive an email purporting to be from the IRS that requires personal information, do not respond to it. The IRS does not contact individuals via email.
4. Be wary of emails or Web sites with offers of a tax refund for an already-filed return to be direct-deposited to your bank account.
5. When postal mailing your tax return to the IRS, use certified mail, send it from a secured location, and do not let it sit in the box overnight as it could be stolen.
6. If you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to represent the IRS, do not give personal information over the phone. Hang up and call the IRS directly to answer their questions.
7. Permanently shred unsecured documents from your computer that contain personal information. Printed documents should be traditionally shredded.
8. Pay attention to children's identity data. Their information can be harvested at underground websites for years and used later in life to commit identity fraud.
9. Install the latest updates to your operating system and anti-malware software to prevent known vulnerabilities from being exploited.
10. After filing taxes online, clear out the Web browser cache. This removes any occurrence of confidential information from temporary disk space.
11. Do not keep unprotected copies of your identity information on your computer. Use Identity Finder Free or manually search your computer to locate and secure information that could be used to commit identity fraud.
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