Protecting Your Identity while Preparing Your Taxes
(CNN) — Tax season is now officially underway and whether you’re filing your returns online or through the mail, it’s worth a few reminders to keep personal information safe and away from identity thieves.
- Don’t carry documents with your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number
- Don’t give that information over the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless you initiated the conversation.
- Make sure the computer you’re using has updated anti-spam and virus software and security patches.
And no matter how busy you are, avoid working on your taxes over a public WiFi connection, like in a cafe or airport.
The following should raise red flags for a consumer:
- More than one tax return filed in your name,
- A balance due for a year you didn’t file a tax return,
- IRS records pointing to more wages than you actually earned in a year,
- State or federal benefits cancelled because of an income change reported to an agency.
If you receive a tax notice and think it’s because of identity theft, get in touch with the IRS. The agency says they’ve doubled the number of their employees working on identity theft cases in the last year.