The Kindergarten Cops are back with very important tips to help you protect your identity this tax season. Boca Raton, FL – Tax season is upon us and the Boca Raton Police Department is continuing our “It’s not child’s play,” video campaign. This most recent video urges citizens to file their tax returns early and to protect their personal information.
The following list of tips will help safeguard your personal information:
• The best defense is to file your tax returns as early in the season as possible to prevent someone who already has your information from beating you to it.
• Ensure that your home Wifi network is secured with a password and consider installing a firewall, especially if you are filing your tax return electronically.
• If you have any doubts about the security of your home internet connection, consider mailing the return directly from a post office. Never send outgoing mail from an unsecured home mailbox.
• If you have a third party prepare your tax return, be sure to research the tax preparer thoroughly before providing your personal information. Check reviews and references.
• Be aware that the IRS will only contact you through the US Mail. Do not respond to requests for information by phone, email, or any other means.
• Purchase a quality cross-cut shredder and always shred all sensitive information, including any tax preparation documents that you do not need, bank statements, credit card statements, and other mail, such as preapproved credit card offers.
• Visit www.annualcreditreport.com and request your credit report annually. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the three credit bureaus to provide you with a free credit report once every 12 months. To keep a consistent watch on your financial safety, consider staggering the requests from each bureau every four months throughout the year.
• If you find that your social security number has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Unit at 1-800-908-4490.