Tax Time is Prime Time for Identity Thieves

Tax Time is Prime Time for Identity Thieves

January 30, 2023

January 30 to February 3, 2023, is Identity Theft Awareness Week.

Anytime is a good time to tighten up your identity security, but if you haven’t been as careful as you intended, consider this your annual reminder. Here are a few best practices to adopt or continue:

  • Change your passwords regularly: Every few months is a great habit to get into. If you change yours today, remind yourself to change them again in six months.
  • Check your credit report: You may have been the target of identity theft or fraud and not even realize it until it shows up on your credit reports.
  • Tax time is prime time for identity thieves: They would love to get their hands on your 1040 form, and they would also love to claim a phony refund using your personal information. Be careful when sharing information online (see below).
  • The I.R.S. doesn’t use unsolicited emails to request information from taxpayers: If you get an email claiming to be from the IRS asking for your personal or financial information, report it to your email provider as spam.
  • Avoid “coffee housing” your personal information: Never risk disclosing financial information over a public Wi-Fi network. (Broadband is susceptible, too.) It takes little sophistication to do this—just a little freeware.
  • Look for the “https” & the padlock icon when you visit a website: Not just http, but https. When you see that added “s” at the start of the website address, you are looking at a website with active SSL encryption, and you want that. A padlock icon in the address bar confirms an active SSL connection. For solid security when you browse, you could opt for a VPN (virtual private network) service that encrypts 100% of your browsing traffic.

Being careful with your personal data means more than just shredding your documents. Share these reminders with friends and family and help protect against identity theft.