Safeguarding your personal information should be a priority during the tax-filing season. The days and weeks leading up to April 15 are when organizations typically mail out W-2s, bank statements and other important tax-related related documents. The documents can be a veritable goldmine of sensitive data and personal information for identity thieves. So it is vital to be cognizant of the threat and to take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of theft and identity fraud.
Most W-2s and tax forms are sent via postal mail and can be easily intercepted by opportunistic thieves. Identity thieves in fact, have been known to even track mail carriers and steal tax-related documents from residential mailboxes. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your mail and to retrieve it promptly when you receive it. Employers are required to mail W-2s by the end of January, so if you haven’t received yours even after Feb. 1, inform your employer and the IRS about the issue.
It is also a good idea to keep all tax related documents in a locked file cabinet or in a safe to prevent unauthorized access by thieves. In addition, security experts often advise that people do not leave important documents lying about in publicly visible places, like in the front seat of your car, from where it can be easily accessed or copied. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that individuals learn to recognize warning signs that their ID may have been stolen and know how to respond to the situation.
To learn more about protecting your personal information this tax season please contact the tax specialists at Gant Insurance Agency, in McKinney, Texas.