We are very pleased to publish the third part of a three part series of personal safety tips suggested by Intersections’ Consumer Security Adviser, Neal O’Farrell.
Guard your mail. By the time March comes around, you'll be in the middle of another busy time for identity thieves — tax time. There are many threats and tricks to watch out for at tax time but a priority should be to watch your mail. Thieves will be waiting to intercept your outgoing mail, hoping maybe to get a copy of your tax return. Or they may be more interested in your incoming mail in the hope of getting their hands on your tax refund before you do.
Safeguard your financial documents. Many tax payers leave their tax preparation to the last minute, which usually means that for the last few weeks of tax time they're up to their necks in financial documents, statements, and receipts. This is a goldmine for burglars and opportunists, so make sure you keep all this sensitive information out of sight when you're not using it.
Be on guard for malicious IRS or tax preparation emails. You can expect an onslaught of malicious emails, either hoping you'll fall for some scam and provide the sender with your personal information, or that you'll click on an attachment or link and download some data-stealing malware. So remind yourself to be especially wary of any emails or phone calls from the IRS, any offers to speed up your refund in return for providing your bank account information for direct deposit, or any offers of free tax preparation or filing software or services from companies you've never heard of. Especially if they come unsolicited by email.
In the next few months we will revisit the idea of security planning and give you some helpful tips for the rest of the year.
Keep informed about the latest threats to your safety.