Tax returns include Social Security numbers and if a refund is going to be automatically deposited, the return will also contain your routing and bank account number. This is information ID thieves can readily use.
A big caution for all of us is to be careful with our tax information. Find a place to secure your tax information at home when you’re not working on your taxes. Don’t carry completed tax forms or information in your car; this information can be stolen at a gas station, restaurant, or any other place you park your car—even if for a short time. Don’t take your tax information to work and leave it lying out.
Here are more tax time safety tips:
- When your taxes are finished, do not place the envelope in your curbside mailbox or a convenient blue postal box; it can be stolen. Take it to the Post Office and deposit it inside;
- Even though the Internal Revenue Service makes the suggestion to write your Social Security number on your check, it is not a legal requirement to do so; you may leave it off;
- Ask any tax preparation service you use, how they will file or dispose of your information when they are finished. Make sure it is discarded in a safe manner, such as shredding, or stored in a locked room;
- When you take your completed tax forms to be copied, at Kinkos, the supermarket or work, make sure you do not leave any forms behind;
- If you use a computer program, such as TurboTax, to complete your taxes, turn your computer off when not in use to avoid being hacked. Better yet, use TurboTax on an old computer not connected to the Internet;
- Have any refund ‘Direct deposited’ so that a refund check does not sit in your curbside mailbox; it can be stolen, altered, washed and cashed using a fake ID;
Source: District Attorney Scott Storey, Office of Jefferson/Gilpin Counties, Colorado
To report fraud, ask a question, or schedule a ‘Power Against Fraud’ seminar, call: 303-271-6980