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News

LifeLock Offers Tax Season Advice On Preventing Identity Theft

LifeLock : 26 March, 2010  (Technical Article)
Identity thieves step up their activity during tax return season, taking advantage of poor security warns LifeLock who is offering consumers some tips on avoiding having their identity stolen
Many consumers look forward to tax season in anticipation of a hefty return. In the same instance, many identity thieves look forward to tax season as well, only in anticipation of beating you to your hefty return. As consumers are gathering their documents to complete their income taxes for the prior year, they are sending and receiving documents that contain significant amounts of personally identifiable information (PII), especially through peer-to-peer file sharing networks. These networks help open up consumers' PII to savvy thieves online, leading to potential identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported in 2009 that from 2006 to 2008, the number of consumer complaints regarding fraudulent tax returns that were filed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had doubled (6% to 12%).

LifeLock understands the threats this time of year poses to consumers and provides the following recommendations to best protect PII during tax season and beyond:

STOP SHARING! - Consumers that have downloaded peer-to-peer file sharing networks onto their computers are at risk for identity theft if they keep tax documents on the same computers. Examples of peer-to-peer file sharing networks include popular programs such as LimeWire, BearShare and KaZaa. These types of file sharing networks allow users to share music, photos, as well as all other documents on the computer. To help secure personal tax documents, peer-to-peer file sharing networks should be removed from personal computers.

SEARCH FOR THE "S" - When using online tax preparation software, be sure that the Web site is secure and that you see an Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. in the URL. The "s" in the URL indicates that the server is secure and personal information can be transmitted safely.

TAKE A TRIP - When filing income taxes by mail, help protect your personal information by taking your sealed IRS envelope to the post office instead of your personal mailbox. Identity thieves can't steal from your mailbox what isn't there.

BE PROACTIVE - Because no one can stop all identity theft, take the proper precautions and engage a proactive identity theft protection service like LifeLock to help safeguard your personal information. LifeLock is the only identity theft protection agency offering consumers with a front line of defense against peer-to-peer identity theft. In addition, LifeLock's next generation of identity theft protection services work to place a front line of defense against identity theft and back it up with a $1 Million Total Service Guarantee (Restrictions apply. See LifeLock.com for details. Due to New York State law restrictions, the LifeLock Service Guarantee cannot be offered to the residents of New York.)
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