Preventing identity theft during tax season

The IRS reports marked improvement in the battle against identity theft in 2016. They state: “The number of new people reporting stolen identities on federal tax returns falling by more than 50 percent, with nearly 275,000 fewer victims compared to a year ago.”

While there is no fool-proof means to prevent identity theft, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. The IRS recommends these 4 tips to protect your identity:

  1. Never routinely carry your Social Security Administration card or any document that includes your Social Security number.
  2. Always use anti-malware security software on all your digital devices including computers, tablets and mobile phones.
  3. Avoid phishing scams that will either trick you into disclosing your passwords or SSN by posing as companies or agencies. Neither the IRS nor your tax software provider will ask you to update your accounts by providing you an email with links.
  4. Always use strong passwords that are long and complex. For example, use a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters and do not use the same password for multiple accounts.

The IRS has published new guidelines for tax preparers and continues to heighten security in a public/private partnership called “The Summit Partners.” The Summit Partners’ priorities for this coming year are enhanced authentication procedures, improved information sharing, heightened cybersecurity, greater education, and outreach to the public. Waldron Rand continues to stay abreast of these guidelines and works hard to make sure our clients are aware of these safeguards.

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