With tax season approaching, it’s a good idea to make sure that all of your sensitive financial data is safe and secure. As I’ve previously mentioned on this blog, I was the victim of identity theft during tax season because I was not diligent about protecting my personal information. My goal is to prevent others from being victims and having to learn a lesson about security the hard way. It’s important to keep your information secure because if you don’t, an identity thief can use it to obtain a job, open up new lines of credit, or access your financial accounts.
This year I’ve partnered with Master Lock, the world’s largest manufacturer of padlocks, to help Mocha Dad readers stay safe with a campaign dedicated to safety through every life stage and season. Throughout the year, I will share a series of safety tips and advice for every life stage and season.
Here are a few tips to make sure your data is safe during tax season.
Make sure all tax documents are secured in a locking file cabinet or a safe. Put papers you no longer need through a cross-cut shredder.
Install security, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software on your home and work computers to protect you from attack. Sensitive documents should be stored on a computer with a password protected log on or stored in a secure environment such as the Master Lock Vault. If you plan to e-file your taxes, make sure to use a strong password to protect the data file. Master Lock offers a 10-step tip sheet to a more secure password.
Use a locking mailbox if possible. If not, be sure to retrieve your mail daily. Identity thieves scout mailboxes for potential targets. When mailing your tax documents, take them directly to the post office and drop them in a box INSIDE the building.
During tax seasons, unscrupulous people devise several scams to dupe innocent taxpayers. If you receive an email asking for your Social Security number or financial information, delete it or send it to the FTC at firstname.lastname@example.org for investigation. Fully investigate tax preparers before you entrust them with your personal information.
To help you to remain safe and secure during tax season, I would like to offer a “Tax Relief” prize pack to one (1) Mocha Dad reader, which will include a $50 Visa gift card (for a shredder, perhaps?) and a Sentry Safe Digital Fire Safe.
To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the comments below (If you don’t have a Facebook account, tweet your entry to @mochadad with hashtag #LSSS):
How do you protect your data during tax season?
- Sign up for the Mocha Dad Newsletter (5 extra entries)
- Like Mocha Dad on Facebook (5 extra entries)
- Like MasterLock on Facebook (5 extra entries)
- Tweet This: Enter the @MasterLockUS Tax Relief giveaway on @mochadad http://bit.ly/1zMh9v4 #LSSS (1 extra entry per tweet – 5 per day)
- Share any Mocha Dad post via Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, or Google+ (1 extra entry for each share or comment. No limit)
Mocha Dad’s “Master Lock Tax Relief Giveaway” starts on Monday, March 2, 2015 and ends on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 11:59 a.m. (CST), and is open to all Mocha Dad readers, subscribers, and/or fans 18 years old and older in the continental U.S. No purchase required. Relatives and employees of Goodall Family Media are not eligible to win. You are also ineligible if you’ve won a prize from this website within the past 30 days. One (1) winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced soon after the ending date. You must leave your contact information to collect your prize. If a winner does not respond within 3 days, a new winner will be chosen. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received compensation and/or one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” All opinions are my own. Allow 3-6 weeks for giveaway fulfillment. While Master Lock has provided promotional support in the form of prizes, Master Lock is not administering the giveaway on this website. Prize value is approximately $450. Visit the Winners Page to see the winner.