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Tax season is an opportune time for identity theft. But if you know what to look for and what NOT to do, you can help protect your identity and keep your hard-earned money (and possibly your tax return) for yourself and your family. Below, we’ve provided a few steps you can take to help keep your identity out of cybercriminals’ hands. 

  1. Don’t fall for common scams. According to the IRS, emails or social media posts that say they’re from the IRS are always a scam because the Internal Revenue Service will never initiate contact with a taxpayer by email or social media. Same is true for phone calls that sound like they’re coming from the IRS with threats of jail time or deportation if you don’t call back immediately. Do not respond to those either, as they are fake. In fact, if you get an email like that, you should forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

  2. Keep your personal information private. Only provide your Social Security number (SSN) or other personal information when absolutely necessary, and never via email, over the phone, or on social media.

  3. Only use secure websites to file your taxes. Make sure your tax preparer is legitimate and that they have a secure website on which you can file. For a website to be secure, the URL needs to begin with “https.”

  4. Use unique passwords. Come up with a strong and unique password for each financial website you use, including websites for filing your taxes, banking, or shopping. Don’t use the same password for different websites, change each one every 90 days or so, and don’t allow your computer to automatically save them. 

  5. Keep your operating system up to date. Installing updates to your operating system whenever they become available will help ensure that you have the latest security measures in place. It’s also important to install and regularly update your anti-spam and anti-virus software to protect the information on your computer. 

  6. Don’t wait until the last minute to file your taxes. Stolen Social Security numbers are one of the most common sources for identity theft, especially around tax time. That’s because your stolen SSN will give someone the ability to file a fraudulent tax return early on in the tax season, and receive (steal) your tax return for themselves.

  7. Shred any documents that contain your personal information. Thieves can rummage through your trash and pick out important documents that include your personal information. Instead of throwing them away, shred tax documents, receipts, bank statements, and credit card solicitations, which will make it more difficult for others to discover information about your identity or personal life.

  8. Pay attention to data breaches. While not every data breach results in identity theft, some do. That’s why it’s important to understand what’s happening, and if you think you might be part of a data breach, investigate further and take steps to determine whether you are a victim of fraud.

  9. Keep your mail secure. If your mailbox is located on a public road or in a place where other people can access what’s inside, consider either putting a lock on your mailbox, with a slot for the mail carrier to insert mail, or change your address for important documents to a P.O. Box, where only you can access it with a key.

Chubb is the marketing name used to refer to subsidiaries of Chubb Limited providing insurance and related services. For a list of these subsidiaries, please visit our website at www.chubb.com. Insurance provided by ACE American Insurance Company and its U.S.-based Chubb underwriting company affiliates. This document is advisory in nature and is offered for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document is not intended as a substitute for legal, technical, or other professional advice. No liabilities or warranties are assumed or provided by the information contained in this document. Chubb, 202 Hall's Mill Road, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-1600.

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