Protect your identity this tax season: Tips from the experts
CONSUMER (WKTV)- This time of year is a volatile time for identity theft because it's tax season and many of your documents have your personal information on it.
Here's what our identity theft expert, Michelle Tuttle says to do: - Remove tax documents promptly from your mail box as they contain your personal info.- Know your tax preparer- Ensure that you are working with a credible firm and be extra cautious about new or seasonal offices. Check the IRS website for more tips on how to choose a tax preparer.- Secure your computer – If you file taxes electronically, be sure to install updated firewalls and anti-spyware protection to help keep your personal data out of the hands of thieves.- Create a unique login and password if you are using an online service to prepare or file your return.– If you file via mail, be sure to mail your return directly from the post office – do not leave your tax return in your unlocked mailbox or at the curb for pickup by your local mail carrier. Your personal information will be vulnerable until it is picked up by your mail carrier-Safeguard sensitive information in home and outside – Frequently the greatest threat to personal information comes from service providers or in-home workers or acquaintances. Keep paperwork in a safe location. When carrying this information out of the house, be sure to keep it on you, or if you must leave it in the car, make sure it is not visible.-shred your documents – use a cross-cut or micro shredder