Financial documents are arriving in the mail, and you are collecting them to send off to your accountant to complete your 2019 tax returns. What could go wrong?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind all year long, but particularly at tax time.

  1. Only work with credible people. Check the BBB (Better Business Bureau) to validate your accountant before providing all of your tax documents.
  2. Guard your personal information.The IRS will not call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information.
  3. Guard your financial information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.
  4. Stay secure online. Don’t send sensitive information such as credit card numbers by email or SMS because it’s not secure. When you are asked to provide your financial or other sensitive information on a website, the letters at the beginning of the address bar at the top of the screen should change from “http” to “https”. S means secure!
  5. Check your credit reports regularly. You can pull the reports once a year at no cost on your own; or subscribe to a service to pull it automatically, and alert you when there are changes that should be validated.
  6. Get off credit marketing lists. Credit bureaus compile marketing lists for pre-approved offers of credit. Identity thieves steal them and apply for credit in your name. Get off these mailing lists by calling 888-567-8688 (your social security number will be required to verify your identity).
  7. File your taxes early. It is important to file your taxes early. If a fraudster files before you do, they will likely get your money. If you are notified that your return has already been received, you will need to file a police report and report it to the IRS.
  8. Create and use unique passwords or phrases and change them often.

Share these tips with your employees and customers and help make this tax season a safe one.