What is identity theft?
Any time someone accesses and uses any piece of your personal information without your permission it qualifies as identity theft. Your personal information includes your name, driver’s license, social security number, bank information, and other unique identifying information.
How can identity thieves get my personal information?
Identity thieves can get your information in several ways:
- Data Breaches
- Internet hacking
- Stealing your trash or mail
- Sending phishing emails requesting personal information
- Stealing it from hospitals, nursing homes, banks, and other businesses
- Misusing your tax information
- Passing it along or selling it to other identity thieves
- ATM skimmers
- Credit card theft
How common is identity theft?
According to a 2018 online survey by the Harris Poll, nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft. This number breaks this down further; 14.2 million credit card numbers and close to 158 million social security numbers were exposed in 2017 according to Experian.
What can I do to prevent identity theft?
Be proactive and decrease the likelihood you’ll fall victim to ID theft:
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card on online purchases.
- Keep your Social Security card and other documents in a locked box in your home. Never give this information away on an unsecured website.
- Don’t give out personal information if you are connected to an insecure, publicly available Wi-Fi hotspot, like in a coffee shop or hotel lobby.
- Shred copies of your tax return, drafts, or calculation sheets you don’t need.
- Install virus-detection software on your computer.
- Use complex passwords, and never use the same password for multiple sites.
How can TaxSlayer protect me from tax identity theft?
TaxSlayer has partnered with Securely ID to provide their identity protection services to TaxSlayers everywhere. These services are available year-round, not just in tax season.
Securely ID includes several helpful features such as:
- Credit Monitoring
- Full-Service Restoration
- Internet Surveillance
- Sex Offender Alert
- $1 million insurance
- Lost Wallet
- SSN Trace
- Non-Credit Loan Services
- Change of Address monitors
What should I do if I’m a victim of identity theft?
If your identity is stolen, it can be difficult to restore on your own. It is important to take precautions against theft, but in the case that it does happen, make sure you are protected.
Securely ID will notify you about several types of identity theft. Once you know about the breach, take action. Contact the players in your specific area and use Securely Id’s certified identity theft restoration specialist. Don’t be alone when your identity gets stolen.
This article is up to date for tax year 2018 (returns filed in 2019).