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March 28, 2023

5 Tips to Help You Protect Your Data During Tax Season

Tax season is a hectic and stressful time of year. On top of all of your other responsibilities, you have to gather important information, keep track of documents, and file your tax return before the deadline. To make things even more stressful, you have to try to keep all of your personal information safe and protect data. After all, scams, phishing attacks, and thieves are everywhere during tax season.

The problem is that trying to keep everything safe can be overwhelming. How do you safeguard all of your data when there are so many threats to your information? It can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve created this list of tips and tricks to make defending your valuable information as easy as possible. From backing-up your data and creating strong passwords to utilizing mobile document shredding, there are a number of different ways you can protect identity and ensure that your data stays safe. Read on to find out PROSHRED® Tampa Bay’s top five tax season tips for protecting your data this year.

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Back-Up Your Data Regularly

As you gather your documents and data in preparation to file your taxes, it’s crucial that you regularly back-up your data in a safe, secure way. Backing-up your tax documents, receipts, and other financial records on a consistent basis serves a couple of different purposes. The first is that it keeps your information organized and easy to access. This will streamline the tax preparation process and make actually filing your taxes a much less stressful job in the future. The second is that thanks to cyber security measures such as firewalls, backed-up information is protected from things like malware and cyberattacks. If your information is safely secured, you won’t run the risk of losing it to unexpected loss, damage, or attacks. This will provide peace of mind and security during tax season.

Create Strong, Unique Passwords

When you’re backing-up your data, working with digital documents, or creating accounts with which you’ll store and file your tax information, it’s critical that you create strong and unique passwords for each account that you make. Don’t repeat passwords and don’t use things that are easy to guess, such as your last name or birthdate. Having passwords that are too simple leaves you vulnerable to hackers who are trying to steal your data. Instead, create passwords that have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. The more variety your passwords have from each other, the more difficult they are to guess, and the harder it will be for others to hack into your accounts to steal your data.

Be Aware of Scams or Phishing Attempts

An unfortunate part of tax season is that scammers try to prey on unsuspecting people to get personal information to commit tax-related identity theft, leading to serious financial losses. One common scam is for scammers to contact individuals while pretending to be a tax agent. They will then ask for personal information or demand payment, often threatening individuals who hesitate to immediately do so. There are other ways in which scammers and cybercriminals try to trick people, however, and their methods of doing so are constantly evolving and changing in order to deceive as many people as possible. That’s why it’s so important to stay on guard throughout tax season. Be aware and vigilant as to who you share your personal information.

Keep Any Physical Documents in a Secure Location

While many parts of filing your taxes are done online now, there are still times when you’ll have a physical copy of a document such as a W-2. These documents can contain highly sensitive information that puts you at risk if they are lost or stolen. Keeping them in a safe, secure location is vital to making sure the tax process is not only seamless but safe. Good places to store these documents are a locked filing cabinet, a safe, or a safety deposit box where they will be secure until you need them.

Destroy Documents That Are No Longer Needed

Something many people forget is that you have to protect data not only during tax season but afterward, as well. Keeping old documents that you no longer need physically or digitally poses a risk to your information and identity. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to review your old information and determine what is worth saving and what needs to be safely disposed of. Once you know what you no longer need, destroy that information as soon as possible to ensure your security.

One easy way to do this is to utilize PROSHRED®’s services, the only Tampa Bay shredding service to hold both the ISO 9001 and NAID AAA certifications, PROSHRED® makes it easy for you to securely dispose of your unwanted documents. From our on-site shredding to hard-drive destruction, we provide everything you need to destroy old information, protect data, and protect identity, knowing that your data is safe.

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