How to protect yourself from fraud during tax season

Tax season is stressful enough. Things can get a lot more nerve-wracking when identity fraud strikes!

You’d never take your tax return and put it in your mailbox on your street.   Even in the safest neighborhoods, identity thieves could lift that information in seconds. The CPAs at Hall and Company always recommend that you either hand deliver your tax return to the U.S. Post Office or file electronically. The damage identity thieves can do to your bank account or credit can be tremendous. But while those things can be rectified over time, the anguish and headache can extend for much longer. 

There are steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of identity fraud this tax season. Here are four easy ways to safeguard your information:

Make sure your mailing address is current.

Millennials have owned the term “the renting generation” for a long time now. The likelihood of them owning a home or remaining at the same address over a three-year period is very slim. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on-the-ball when it comes to keeping all of your information up-to-date in your records. If you do happen to move, make sure that you contact any and all of your financial institutions, credit reporting agencies, tax authorities, and the post office – this way none of your mail ends up in the wrong hands!!

Be vigilant with your credit card information.

Don’t just toss that bank statement in the shredder when it pops up in your inbox (or delete it if you get e-receipts online). Go over your statements with a fine-tooth comb each time it comes in. If you see any abnormal charges, report them immediately!

Be extremely protective of your Social Security Number (SSN).

Yes, sometimes you will need to supply your SSN when filing online or filling out applications (for jobs or loans for example). However, do not blindly hand out that information whenever you are asked. Be sure to read carefully and investigate the legitimacy of the request.

Sure everything’s online – but don’t forget about paper documents!

It’s easy to think that you’ve got everything private and down pat today. We can get our bank statements delivered online, pay our bills over apps, and forget about fill out paper applications anymore! However, that doesn’t mean you should disregard the safekeeping/disposal of any paper documents that turn up in your mailbox. If you still get traditional mail with any valuable or personal information on it, it’s worth passing it through a shredder before dumping in the trash. You’ll thank yourself later!

Hall & Company Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) have seen their fair share of identity fraud and always advise clients to use discretion and caution when it comes to their documents. Having served the financial needs of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners alike, Hall CPAs have over 35 years of experience in auditing, accounting, tax, and specialized support. We pride ourselves on our ability to deliver clients professional and polished service with an eye for detail and a personable attitude.

If you have any audit or tax needs or wish to have your questions answer, you can always reach us via email or call 949-910-HALL (4255).