Tax identity theft can lead to some pretty devastating consequences. We are not the only ones enjoying the convenience of technology and easy access to information. Scammers, hackers, and identity thieves are too. There’s never been a better time to protect your identity. Maggi Tax shows you four proactive ways you can protect yourself from tax identity theft.
- Mail’s here
This may seem almost too easy, but scammers love this low-hanging fruit. You will most likely never open any of those credit card offers but make to bring them in daily. A scammer can easily create accounts in your name by using mail as print-based identity theft. Any mail that contains personal information like credit card offers, old bills, or outdated bank statements may be useful to a scammer. We recommend shredding any personal documents before discarding them.
- Digitally speaking
It’s probably time to change your password. The FBI and National Institute of Standards and Technology recommend creating a password with at least 15 characters because they are more difficult for a computer program or hacker to crack. Generally, the strongest passwords are a completely random series of numbers, letters, and symbols or randomly selected words. If that seems impossible, use an odd phrase that has meaning only to you. Consider investing in a digital wallet for purchasing and payments. This software-based system securely stores user payment information and passwords for various websites.
- Out and about
If your phone is constantly in your hand, you may not notice how this risky behavior can affect your identity. Because most people don’t use a password to lock their phones, mobile devices are extremely vulnerable to malware attacks and security breaches. Minimize the risk by using apps over web browsers anytime you need to access sensitive information. Apps are designed specifically with security features. Another easy security tip: never use a public charging station. These are malware Petri dishes, a perfect place for hacking and data breaches because of the cross-pollination between devices.
- Cash out
Cash is still king. Cash contains no personal information and can’t be drained instantly from a bank account so it’s always a much safer option. If you’re traveling, grabbing lunch at a food truck, or in an unfamiliar place, money will always reduce the chance of your sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands.
Want to learn more about protecting your identity? For over 30 years, Maggi Tax has guided Tampa Bay residents with all aspects of their financial well-being. Call (727) 799-1701 or contact us here to schedule your appointment today.