Protect yourself and your finances at tax time

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8 Ways to protect yourself at tax time
 It's more important than ever to be vigilant about protecting our personal finances and it's even more important to be extra careful around tax time. 

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  1. Be on the lookout for Phishing - When imposters can be very convincing. They will most likely attempt to get your personal information either over the phone or via email. It’s important to know that the IRS will not contact you by phone or email and ask for personal information. If you have questions about your return or refund or are unsure of the status of your return, you should contact the IRS department directly by phone.  
  2. Avoid Fraudulent or Illegitimate tax preparers - It's best to work with a tax preparer that you know or one that was recommended by someone you know. If you need to find a tax preparer look for well-recognized companies such as Turbo Tax or H&R Block. Be wary of too good to be true promises, never sign a blank document, and never deposit any amount of your refund into their bank account. The IRS has a list of verified tax preparers. Visit IRS.Gov.
  3. Mind your mail - It's always a good idea to closely monitor your mailbox especially at tax time because identity thieves are more active during tax season. Make sure to pick up your mail every day, and avoid sending sensitive information through the mail. If you need to send information, such as your social security number, through the mail consider paying extra and use certified mail.
  4. Create strong passwords - Your password is your first line of defense from potential hackers. Don’t take the easy way out. Create a strong password with upper and lowercase as well as numbers and symbols. 
  5. Don’t be careless on public WiFi - Cell data is more secure than a public WiFi. Never conduct sensitive business on a public WiFi such as checking your bank account. 
  6. Review bank and credit card statements carefully - Look for suspicious transactions each time you receive your bank or credit card statements. Access your accounts online accounts regularly. If you spot irregular, or unfamiliar activity investigate immediately.  
  7. Monitor your credit report - By law you’re entitled to one free credit check per year from each of the major credit bureaus. They include Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To claim your free copy visit www.AnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
  8. Make sure you have identity theft insurance protection - Check with your insurance provider to see what type of identity theft is available. Most homeowners insurance policies have identity theft protection that will help you restore your identity after it has been stolen or compromised. Identity theft protection under your homeowners insurance is limited. If you are looking for added identity theft protection talk to your agent about your options. 

We are here to help you protect you and your family's financial future. Insurance is one-way to protect yourself against loss. If you have questions about identity theft protection please give us a call at 800-392-6532 or email insure@colby-group.com

 

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