How would you like to go home tonight and find that your pocket is $2,700 lighter – and it will take at least 30 hours of your time to resolve it? That is the average amount Americans lose to identity theft, and some people lose as much as $1 million, said Todd Feinman, CEO of security and privacy technologies firm Identity Finder.
A November 2007 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report said that in 2005, 8.3 million Americans discovered they had been victims of identity theft. Tax season in particular is a time when guarding against identity theft becomes even more crucial. “Identity thieves aren’t going from Dumpster to Dumpster stealing one tax return at a time anymore,” Feinman said. “Hackers are now writing programs that can go out and steal this type of information from thousands of computers at a time.”
With increasing numbers of taxpayers using e-filing to take care of their duty to the IRS, there are a number of precautions that it is recommended they employ to ensure the sensitive information being transmitted and stored during tax season doesn’t fall into an identity thief’s hands.
The most important advice e-filers need to hear, said Feinman, is, “After you file your tax return online, there’s still a copy of it on your computer, and you should either password protect [it] or permanently ‘shred’ it from your computer,” which involves a process that ensures that recovery of the information is no longer possible. The password you…
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