Tax season and fraud go hand-in-hand. Identity thieves often use stolen business and personal information to file fraudulent tax returns. In this blog, we offer tips for protecting your information from tax fraud.
No one enjoys paying taxes; that’s why so many people procrastinate when filing returns. But the longer you wait, the greater your exposure to identity theft. If an identity thief steals your personal or business information and files your return before you do, they can receive your refund check. And remedying a dispute with the IRS can be costly and time-consuming. Don’t wait to file your 2017 return, take action today.
Don’t Take Phishing Bait
Did the IRS send you an email requesting information? If so, it’s a scam. The IRS will contact you through the U.S. mail if they need information. Identity thieves send fraudulent emails using the IRS name and logo to taxpayers, tax preparers, and human resource professionals. Never open these emails or click on suspicious links. Instead, report phishing scams to the IRS at https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing.
Choose a Reputable Tax Preparer
Unscrupulous tax preparers use tax season as an opportunity to steal personal and business information. That’s why it’s important to choose one who is honest and reputable. Avoid preparers who base their fees on a percentage of your refund. Verify their professional credentials and check their rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Store Tax Returns Offsite
Do you tuck tax records into a box and store it in a closet or back office? Since tax-related documents should be retained for up to seven years, it’s imperative to have a long-term storage solution that protects them from unauthorized access and natural disasters.
A professional records storage service offers unparalleled protection for tax records. Your documents are stored in a records center equipped with the following systems:
- Access monitoring
- 24/7 surveillance
- Motion sensors
Only background-screened records management professionals have access to the records center. They use barcode technology and state-of-the-art inventory management systems to control and manage your tax records during retention.
Shred Expired Tax Records
The same care and diligence used to store your tax records extends to how you destroy them when they expire. An outsourced paper shredding service prevents your expired tax records from being compromised. Old W-2s, receipts, payroll files, and employees’ personally identifiable information (PII) is destroyed on-site with a mobile shredding truck or off-site at a shredding plant. Both ways prevent unauthorized access to confidential information through the use of:
- Strict chain of custody procedures
- Industrial-grade document destruction
- Screened, professionally trained shredding technicians
Taxes may be unavoidable, but by following these tips you can certainly avoid tax fraud.
Records Management Center provides professional shredding and destruction solutions for businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.