Following are some preventive measures to help keep your identity safe:
Individual Preventive Measures
- Truncate Social Security numbers (SSNs) where possible or mask them on insurance cards.
- Monitor credit reports at least annually.
Contact details for the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus are:
Experian- Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion – Transunion.com, 1-800-680-7289
- Forward any IRS notices immediately to your CPA immediately.
- Keep Social Security cards and financial information in a secure location and properly dispose of documents with SSNs or account numbers.
- Give out an SSN, birthdate, or address only if required.
- Buy and use a shredder.
- Protect personal computers with firewalls, anti-spam, or anti-virus software; regularly change passwords; and password-secure wireless connections.
- Be mindful of the personal information divulged on social media, as hackers are getting increasingly sophisticated.
Business Preventive Measures
- Use anti-virus and other security software on all office computers and update data-security policies.
- Educate employees about phishing (attempts by fraudsters to acquire information via electronic communications by posing as a legitimate entity).
- Remind employees not to open links or attachments from emails they were not expecting to receive.
- Update business filings with the IRS and with state business registries as soon as any contact information changes.
- Monitor the business’s credit profile at least annually.
- If possible, consider filing business tax returns earlier in tax season.
- Forward phishing emails purported to be from the IRS per the forwarding instructions on the IRS website.