Post-April tips to prevent identity theft

Tens of millions of tax returns have just been filed electronically for the tax year 2007. Anyone who has filed their taxes this way and has their personally identifiable information stored unprotected in their computer is vulnerable to the ever-growing threat of electronic identity theft. The makers of Identity Finder offer the following tips that can benefit every online taxpayer.

1. When storing a copy of your tax return on your computer, make sure you secure it with a password so that your SSN cannot be read if the file is lost.
2. Securely delete all electronic, financial documents used to prepare your tax returns so any personal information is safe.
3. Ignore all refund/rebate/warning emails claiming to come from the IRS and never click on links within those emails because it is most likely a phishing attack.
4. Do not provide personal information to anyone calling you claiming to be from the IRS; the IRS already has your information and it’s likely to be an identity thief calling you.
5. Check your credit report with one of the three credit bureaus for free every four months at www.annualcreditreport.com to make sure your identity hasn’t already been stolen.
6. Install the latest updates to your operating system so known Windows or Mac vulnerabilities can’t be exploited by hackers.
7. Don’t save your password in your web browser when accessing banks and other institutions that
keep your personal information because it could be leaked if you ever get a virus, Trojan, or are hacked.
8. If you provided your bank account and routing information to the IRS for payment or refunds, check your bank accounts to ensure the proper transfer occurred.
9. Visit your bank account online and set up alerts on your accounts to monitor when high amounts of cash are withdrawn.
10. Make sure you do not receive incorrect payment liability or refund information; a thief could have filed a tax return on your behalf fraudulently.




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