More on Tax Time Vigilance

Picking up where we left off last week, tax time is a time to step up our vigilance regarding identity theft.

Once again, identity theft still tops the list of taxpayer concerns. According to the most recent Javelin Strategy & Research, identity thieves stole $16 billion from 12.7 million US consumers in 2014.

More tips for best practices in identity theft protection:

  1. Be mindful of the information you are sharing on-line.  Data-mining is the practice where companies gather information people are sharing about themselves on line.  When making purchases or signing up for newsletters, only provide the information that the company needs: you don’t have to give out all of your information. When you do opt in to offer personal information, check the site’s privacy policy to find out how that information might be shared with other companies.
  2. It’s an old chorus but that because it’s critical: use smart passwords.  Use a password keeper to help you keep track but do not cut corners on passwords!
  3. Games and memes are fun—but also frequently ask for personal information like your mother’s maiden name or the street you grew up on. Definitely DO NOT post such information on your social media—that’s like opening your wallet and giving it away!
  4. Be wary of phishing schemes. Phishing often comes in the form of an unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site such as the IRS or your bank in order  to get you to disclose your personal or financial information. Don’t follow any links from these e-mails to any websites where you might be asked for your personal information. Verify that you’re on a legitimate site before sharing your data; if you must access a particular site, log out from any links that you’re not sure about and navigate directly to the site instead. And remember: the IRS will not initiate contact with you by email (or phone) to discuss your account.

We’ll finish with one more round of tips next week.

We always invite you to view more on identity theft protection at

by Judith