10 Tips for Safe Tax E-Filing: Protect Your Identity and Your Life

So many of you are skeptical about sharing your personal information online. After all, your entire identity is on the line: from your social security number to your bank account information.

Here are 10 tips for the safe filing of your Tax Returns. Do it right, and you can protect your life:

1. Watch What You E-mail: Even for filing purposes, don't send your social security number, bank account number, or other vital information to your spouse or accountant via e-mail.

2. Password Protection: All electronic tax returns (and software) will allow you to create a password. Make sure you create complex passwords (that include numbers) and write them down in your planner or somewhere safe so you always have access to them.

3. Distrust "IRS E-mails": The IRS themselves has said they will not send you an e-mail about filing your taxes directly. If you recieve an e-mail from the "IRS", ignore it. 

4. Watch out for "IRS Phone Calls": Don't give personal information on the phone to an agent claiming to be with the IRS. Hang up and protect your information.

5. Break out the Shredder: Shred uneeded documents that contain your social security numbers, credit card numbers, or bank account information before you throw them away.

6. Protect The Kids: Be sure to protect your children's social security information as well when you file your taxes online this year.

7. Clear the Cache: Clear your web browser's cache after filing your taxes online.

8. Update Your Protection: Make sure your anti-malware and virus protection programs are up-to-date to protect your important private information.

9. Back-up Computer Files: Don't leave documents that contain your vital information in files on your computer. Keep them protected in back-up drives. This saves your info in the event of system failure or a virus infestation on your computer.

10. Safe Mailing: Take caution even when you decide to mail your return in via snail mail. Use certified mail, and send your return from a secure location. Don't drop your return off in a drop box.

It's better to be safe than sorry... Identity theft is not as common as the media might lead you to believe, but it does happen. When it does, it's incredibly difficult to get your life back in order, sometimes it takes years. It's better to take the small extra steps that protect your information and file your taxes without worry.