You hear about it every day – someone’s become the victim of tax identity theft – their social security number (SSN) has been hijacked and used by a fraudster to claim a tax refund, unbeknownst to them. Unbeknownst until they go to file their return only to find one’s already been filed under their name, that is.
While you may assume that someone got their hands on your social security number while you were managing your personal affairs, you may be surprised to learn that you have to be vigilant about protecting yourself in the workplace, too, as it’s not uncommon for someone inside your company to lift your SSN if you leave it in plain sight and unattended.
While the IRS is tightening controls to do what it can to safeguard individuals against tax identity theft, by doing your part to make sure these five simple things are handled, you can ensure that your private information remains where it should – with you:
- Check with your employer to ensure they’re using antivirus and other security software on all workplace computers;
- Keep your social security number and other sensitive information in a secure location and restricting access to it;
- Monitor your credit reports, just in case (if there’s a problem, you can detect and address it as soon as it occurs);
- File tax returns and W-2s, W-3s, and 1099s as early as possible; and
- Develop an action strategy for dealing with tax identity theft, including who to notify if you find yourself in this situation.
Don’t wait. The sooner you get these strategies working for you, the less your risk of personal identity fraud happening in the first place. If you need more information on how to protect yourself against identity fraud, contact us.