Identify protection is one of the top concerns taxpayers are worried about. According to a study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, identity fraudsters stole $16 billion USD from 12.7 million U.S. consumers in 2014. Here are some tax tips that come from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Kelly Phillips, a Forbes taxation staff member. These tips remind every day taxpayers on how to better your chances from preventing identity theft to happen to you.
Always Keep Your Social Security Card Safe
When applying for a credit card online, you don’t need anything else to apply with except for your information on your social security card. If fraudsters have your social security information, they can apply for credit cards in your name without your acceptation or approval. They can overdraw from the new credit card they had fraudulently created under your name, tainting your credit card record.
Public Wi-Fi Contains Hidden Dangers
When you go to Starbucks, your smart phone automatically tries to connect to the public Wi-Fi of Starbucks. You glance at the name of the Wi-Fi connection on the screen and confirm that it is Starbucks Wi-Fi, you then click “connect.” However, this could be a ploy from identity fraudsters to successfully steal your personal information, including your online banking data. This is called phishing Wi-Fi. Hence, if you want to connect to a public Wi-Fi, be sure the public Wi-Fi you are connecting to is the correct one, or you’d better use the cellular data.
Lock Your Computer Account When You Walk Away from It
Some people are used to saving their username and password in their browsers, so that they do not need to remember to type it in every time. But it is also a convenient way for identity fraudsters to find information about you, and steal your information and money. As a result, if you are in a library, lock your computer’s account when you leave it alone, even if you are just going to leave for one minute, because one minute is long enough for an identity fraudster to login to your online banking account and transfer your money.
Avoid Using the Same Password for Several Accounts
Remembering several passwords is definitely difficult for people. Thus, many people use the same password and Email address as the username for all their websites. In other words, identity fraudsters only need to hack and obtain one password, then they can access to all of your accounts. Therefore, try to establish and combine your password with a variety of numbers such as your pet’s name, your elementary school’s zip code, your mom’s date of birth, etc.
Check Your Bank Statement Every Month
No matter what, even if your bank statement is an electronic version or a paper form, please check all the transactions on the statement. If there is any one of them that is wired and looks strange, please don’t be hesitant to contact the customer service, even if the amount is only $1. Some identity fraudsters will transfer a little amount of money each time in order to avoid the money transfer alert and hide from user vigilance.
Protect Your Credit Card All the Time
Moreover, please do not show your card number and security code to others, because anyone can use these numbers to purchase online products or services without the real physical credit card with them.
Be Careful with Links within Emails and Social Media
Sometimes, you will receive some Emails or messages on social media platforms containing strange links and attractive copies and images such as “get a free pair of sunglasses” or “click the link to date with me.” If you do click the link, the identity fraudsters will gain your personal information and banking account, just like phishing public Wi-Fi scams do too. Thus, make sure Emails and links you receive are sent by a trusted account.
Use Anti-virus Software
Using an anti-virus software or firewall is a direct and convenient way for common people to prevent identity theft. Have a look at this list of the performance of different types of anti-virus software used in 2017 as a reference (it’s not an Ad).
Destroy Paper Document Involving Your Personal Information
Paper document involves your personal information, such as shipping paper on the package, bank statements and more. Thus, tearing up these paper trails before you throw them away every time is a good habit to protect your personal information.