Tax information is at great risk during the tax filing season. Hackers are on the loose and are ready to victimize a naïve taxpayer who happens to leave his documents unguarded. If you’re thinking about the security of stored business documents that include your tax returns, you’re in the right post. Here, I’ll give you tips on how to protect your identity when filing your taxes.
1. Scan and shred it!
Of course, you’re not supposed to shred everything on your tax returns. What you need to get rid of are those that are past the recommended statute of limitations of three years. Still, don’t shred it without leaving a digital copy. Scan these and store it on your local drive with a highly secure system.
Tax returns documents can come in large piles, especially if you’re paying on behalf of your whole company. You can include the past files on your scheduled shredding to remove the clutter in your office. Just make sure that you’re using a micro-cut machine for the highest level of security.
2. Secure your social security number
Your SSN is the most sought-after information on your tax returns. This is the easiest way for criminals to steal your identity. Once the fraudsters have access to your tax returns using your social security number, they can file it right ahead. When you file it without the knowledge of someone else using your account, the criminals are going to pocket the full refund.
To secure your SSN, make sure that you don’t let unauthorized person handle your personal documents. Don’t post your tax returns on any social media sites if you’re planning to level up the security of stored business documents.
3. Store your tax documents in a secured place
If you’re worried about the security of stored business documents, you should get a vault or a trusty lock on your cabinets. This will give you peace of mind that no one can easily access your tax documents. You should also install burglar alarms in your office or house so thieves will be caught red-handed when they attempt to break in.
Don’t let your tax files sitting on your office desk. Anyone who enters your office can easily scheme through it and take pictures of your private information. That will be an effortless attempt to access your PII.
4. Use the power of passwords
Like what you do with your devices, lock everything with passwords. But you shouldn’t just use passwords, you should come up with strong ones. Never use your name, birth date, or any information that can be easily guessed by someone trying to access your documents. This is very much important if you’re registering for online banking and any internet-based tax sites.
The safest bet for passwords is a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols. This way, you can make passwords work for you and the security of stored business documents you have. If the time comes that you’re going to ditch your old computer, make sure to clean it off of any data, program, or browsing information.
5. Make sure that your computer has anti-malware software
Never browse the internet without using a VPN, this is always the rule of thumb. The Virtual Private Network encrypts the browsing data on your device so no one can pry on your browsing habits. Also, this would block any censorship as well as geographical limitations.
Aside from that, you should install anti-malware software so you can block suspicious activities on your device. You can ask your IT team in the office or an expert to help you out. If you’re changing your device, make sure that you have it professionally shredded.
6. Lock your mailbox
If you have an unlocked mailbox, everyone can check your stuff or even steal it. If a fraudster happens to pass by and stole a tax notification mail, you’re likely to be a victim of identity theft. Always lock your mailbox and install a CCTV, if possible, so you’ll have another security feature on your mails.
Always empty your mailbox so it won’t be overflowing with mails. If you have junk mails, shred it and don’t let it accumulate inside your home. For office mails, make sure that you’re the one who’s receiving it or a person you trust fully.
7. Read the news
Data breaches happen year in and year out. The scariest fact is that hackers and fraudsters are discovering new ways to get through personal information of other individuals. You should be in tune with the latest news so you can practice caution at home or in the office. This won’t just secure your tax records but it will also level up the security of stored business documents.
When there’s a new case of breach, notice what type of data is stolen. It will also pay off to get a fraud alert from your credit card provider.
8. Be on top of your bank statements
From now on, you should pay attention to the details of your bank statements. You should compare it with your credit report to make sure that no suspicious activities are present on your account. Such practice will also help you and your bank track down anomalous purchases using your account.
Remember that the longer it takes for you to detect a fraud, the more damages it will bring upon your assets. Always be on top of your purchases to avoid any attempt at fraud from slipping your watch. Make this a monthly habit so you won’t need to review a bulk of transactions.
9. Leave private tax documents at home
If you’re traveling for business or leisure, just leave your tax documents at home. Just bring digital copies of it if ever you’ll need to refer to it while you’re away. As much as possible, leave documents that bear your SSN. Exceptions could be your identifications cards that you should carry with extra care.
If you happen to lose it while you travel, make sure to contact your bank and the tax bureau so they can perform confirmatory steps on your next transactions to avoid fraud. You can freeze your accounts if many of your tax documents are lost. This will ensure the security of stored business documents.
10. Never give away personal tax information
Avoid giving away your tax information, as you’ll never know when it will be used against you. If possible, hire a reliable and trustworthy tax preparer so you’ll have peace of mind. Don’t give any information to anyone introducing themselves as representatives of the IRS until you double-check that they are legitimate. Just keep in mind that the IRS rarely or almost never contacts taxpayers via email or phone call. If you have doubts, politely decline the call and report it to the tax bureau.
Do you want to level up the security of stored business documents? Get this shredder now!
If you’re planning to get rid of your old and dusty tax records, you should get a shredder with a high level of security. It’s not enough that you turn the sheets into bits of paper, you should make sure that it’s far from being reassembled. If you’re scouting for one to purchase, check this out:
This shredder would be your go-to equipment in disposing of your confidential documents with its 9-sheet capacity and a micro-cut system. It will shred your sheets in 1/8 x 13/32-inch bits for maximum security. This is paired with a five-gallon basket with a light indicator. Here are more features that will seal your purchase.
This shredder isn’t just durable, it can also run for ten minutes or more before it needs to be cooled down for 20 minutes. Aside from paper, you can also shred here your old credit cards as well as expired IDs.
SafeSense Technology for utmost security
If you’re worried about your tie getting caught in the machine, you can put dab your hand on the paper opening and the machine will stop working. This feature is handy for accidental shredding.
The security of stored business documents like tax returns should be your priority to avoid any threat of fraud and identity theft. These days when such criminal acts are rampant, you can’t take chances on leaving your documents unguarded. What do you think of these reminders? Let your friends know about these points too!