Because they contain such sensitive data, it's crucial to take extra measures to keep your electronic tax information safe. Feinman suggests these 10 steps:
- 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.
- Securely delete all electronic, financial documents used to prepare your tax returns so any personal information is safe.
- Ignore all refund/rebate/warning e-mails claiming to come from the IRS and never click on links within those e-mails because it is most likely a phishing attack.
- 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.
- Check your credit report with one of the three credit bureaus free every four months at www.annualcreditreport.com to make sure your identity hasn't already been stolen.
- Install the latest updates to your operating system so known Windows or Mac vulnerabilities can't be exploited by hackers.
- 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.
- 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.
- Visit your bank account online and set up alerts on your accounts to monitor when high amounts of cash are withdrawn.
- Make sure you do not receive incorrect payment liability or refund information; a thief could have filed a tax return on your behalf fraudulently. If you suspect tax preparation fraud, call the State Tax Department toll-free at 1-888-675-9437.
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