Protect your personal identity,

tax and financial information


  • Read your credit card and banking statements carefully and often; watch for even the smallest charge that appears suspicious. (Neither your credit card nor bank—or the IRS—will send you emails asking for sensitive personal and financial information such as asking you to update your account.)​


  • Review all paper notices and correspondence from the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Revenue, or any other government agency. As long as the notice is official you may need to respond.  You might want to seek advice from a tax professional before responding to any income tax notices.  Warning signs of tax-related identity theft can include IRS notices about tax returns you did not file, income you did not receive or employers you’ve never heard of or where you’ve never worked.​


  • Review each of your three credit reports at least once a year. Visit to get your free reports.​


  • Review your annual Social Security income statement for excessive income reported. You can sign up for an electronic account at gov.


  • Read your health insurance statements; look for claims you never received.


  • Shred any documents with personal and financial information. Never toss documents with your personally identifiable information, especially your social security number, in the trash or recycle bin.​​


  • If you receive any routine federal deposit such as Social Security Administrator or Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, you probably receive those deposits electronically. You can use the same direct deposit process for your federal and state tax refund.  IRS direct deposit is safe and secure and places your tax refund directly into the financial account of your choice.​


  • Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update.  Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records you store on your computer.  Use strong passwords.​


  • Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening phone calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card company and government organizations, including the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.​


  • Protect your personal data. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure.  Treat your personal information like you do your cash; don’t leave it lying around.​


  • Do not give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.​


  • Do not give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know with whom you are dealing.​


  • Secure personal information in your home.​


  • Whether stored on paper or kept electronically, the IRS urges taxpayers to keep tax records safe and secure, especially any documents bearing Social Security numbers. The IRS also suggests scanning paper tax and financial records into a format that can be encrypted and stored securely on a flash drive, CD or DVD with photos or videos of valuables.