Protecting Your Identity: Helpful Tips to Keep Your Identity Safe

February 26, 2016

It’s the time of year when we scramble to gather our W-2s to file taxes before the April 18 individual income tax deadline.

Unfortunately, identity thieves also are scrambling to gather your personal information to file fraudulent tax returns. How can you prevent an identity thief from stealing your refund? Below are a few helpful tips on protecting your identity this tax season:

Store your personal information and financial documents in a safe place.
Avoid carrying your Social Security card with you and keep financial documents in a secure location.

Be aware of impersonators.
Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you are sure you know with whom you are dealing.

Safely dispose of personal information.
Shred receipts, bank statements, checks and other documents with personal information when you are done using them.

Check your credit report annually
. You can check your credit report every 12 months for free by contacting the three credit report agencies – Experian, Equifax and Trans Union.

Protect your personal computers.
Use firewalls and anti-spam/virus software and update security patches to keep your personal information safe online.

Remember, identity thieves are professional criminals and are skilled at finding ways to steal your personal information. Use these five tips and other tips on the Indiana Department of Revenue’s Stop ID Theft website to keep your identity safe this tax season.