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Don’t Become a Victim of Income Tax-Related Identity Theft

Our own Rachid Zahidi talks about protecting yourself from identity theft

While the advent of technology has dramatically improved the way we do many things in life and in business, it has also increased the risks associated with identity theft. In an interview with CLTV Chicago, our own Rachid Zahidi talks about how you can protect yourself from tax-related identity theft.

In addition to being the CEO of Sentinel Background Checks and the Author of The Business Immunity System, Rachid’s experience as the leader of a team of money laundering investigators has given him the background and expertise to offer critical advice on this issue.

Some important tips he gives are:

  • • File as early as possible: The longer you wait, the higher the risk that someone can get your information and file in your name before you—stealing your refund.
  • • Keep your paperwork secure: If you are receiving W2’s and 1099s or other tax-related documents through regular mail, you need to make sure they are kept somewhere safe and that you are on top of incoming and outgoing mail to avoid the theft of your documents from your mailbox.
  • • Be wary of phishing schemes: The IRS won’t call or email you to get updated information. If you get a request like this, do not give any information. If you receive phishing emails, delete them and empty your deleted files.
  • • Watch out for shoulder surfing: If you haven’t heard this term, it refers to someone looking over your shoulder reading your personal information. It is highly recommended that you do not use a public computer to prepare your taxes and that you make sure your home network is secure.
  • • Password strength: It’s important to create strong passwords—even if you think you have a secure network, this decreases the risks of being hacked.
  • • Use an IRS vetted tax preparer: If you don’t have a trusted tax preparer, it is best to use one of the professionals listed on the IRS website. There are “fly by night” agencies that set up shop only during tax season and are not as credible.
  • • Monitor your credit: Take advantage of free credit reports provided by the three big credit reporting agencies and run a credit check on yourself every 3 months to ensure no one is using your identity to secure loans or open credit cards in your name.

Millions of people had their tax refunds stolen last year and unless you use these tips to safeguard your, you could fall victim to this type of identity theft. Being aware of how thieves can get a hold of your personal information and staying on top of your credit report are key ways to protect yourself. For more information on identity theft or to set up regular credit checks for yourself , get in touch with Sentinel Background Checks today.