Do You Protect Yourself from Identity Theft?

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Identity theft is rampant these days. Your information can be taken faster than you can blink. However, there are several very easy ways to protect yourself. Are you careful enough? Do you know how to protect your identity? I received the following tips in an email, specifically related to tax return theft.

  • When storing a copy of your tax return on your computer, try to protect it with a complex password.
  • If you do decide to delete the file, either use the free Eraser for Windows, or Secure Delete in Mac OS X. Make sure you securely and properly delete the files. Don’t just put them in the Recycle bin. Make sure they are completely gone.
  • Ignore all refund or rebate emails that claim to come from the IRS. Never click the links in emails if they claim to be coming from an official source, unless you know for a fact it comes from who it says. My suggestion is to verify any warning on the IRS website. This will allow you to make sure if something is legit or not.
  • If someone calls you claiming to need to verify your information… hang up on them. DONT give them information. You aren’t verifying anything. Don’t give out any information or at your door, no matter how legit it seems. Check it out first.
  • Check your credit report through all the agencies periodically. Keep on top of it. If you notice a discrepancy… challenge it immediately. You never really know when your credit report can turn around and bite you. Innocent mistakes can and do happen, and affect your credit adversely. So I recommend checking it at least once a year, if not a couple of times.

These are some things in relation to tax season, but apply to every day of the year. Only deal with people, companies and websites that you know and trust. Don’t count on anyone but yourself to keep you safe.

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