Seven Tips for Handling and Storing your Sensitive Documents

Feb. 5, 2014 – TaxTalk Blog

From the moment your tax documents arrive in the mail to after you press that “submit” button, there are a lot of opportunities for identity theft criminals to steal your identity and refund.

You learned in Monday’s blog that identity theft is a growing epidemic that is especially prominent during tax season. Why is that?

Tax season is the time when you handle your Social Security number (SSN), bank account information, W-2 forms, and all of your other sensitive information. By storing these documents in vulnerable locations, identity theft criminals can gain access to this information easily.

Instead, follow these seven tips for handling and storing your sensitive documents in a safe way:

  1. After your tax return has been electronically filed, save the file to a CD, a USB drive, or an external drive and then delete the file from your computer. This ensures that no one can hack your computer and steal the information. Store the device in a safe, locked place.
  1. If you work with an accountant, ask him about the measures he takes to protect your information after your return is filed.
  1. Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for your Internet accounts often.
  1. If you no longer need a document with your personal information on it, don’t leave it lying around—shred it.
  1. File your taxes electronically. E-filing is significantly more secure than paper filing. When you e-file, your return is processed predominately by computer. This means the fewest possible chances for identity theft. Individual taxpayers can file their taxes online for free if they qualify at
  1. Don’t click links provided in suspicious emails. These may be “phishing” emails that could hack your computer and steal your personal information.
  1. Be suspicious of emails or texts that say they’re from the Indiana Department of Revenue. The department rarely emails or texts people to get personal information. If the department needs to contact you, we will do it by mail. If you have any doubt whether a message is legitimate, call the department at (317) 232-2240.

After following these tips, you can review our Stop ID Theft website to learn more, and stay tuned for a third post in this blog series coming Friday.

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