This week we wrap up our tips for tax time vigilance.
We are now deep into tax season 2016, an especially vulnerable time of year when we need to remind ourselves of best practices regarding identity theft protection particularly as they relate to filing taxes.
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.
- Protect your social security number: Because it one a unique way to identity individuals, many companies ask for your Social Security Number to use it as a way to build their database. That may be easier for them, but it could spell disaster for you. Before you give out your Social Security Number, determine whether the company really needs the information – and why. If there’s not a legitimate purpose, don’t provide your Social Security Number when asked and don’t submit it online.
- Just like eating your vegetables–it’s important to monitor your credit report.By law, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion): that’s a total of three reports every year (you may be entitled to additional copies if you’re the victim of identity theft). Review your credit report like you do your credit card or banking statements: check to make sure that the transactions and credit requests are those that you’ve approved.
- Finally, keep your eyes and ears open for fraud alerts. Institutions will alert you whenever there’s a suspicious transaction on your account. It can be a little inconvenient if the transaction is legitimate but it’s loads better than having your card actually compromised and not knowing about it. Ask if your bank or lender has fraud alerts – and use them.
For more helpful tips and suggestions for best practices in the world of identity theft protection, please visit legalshredinc.com