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NEW YORK, Feb. 18, 2009 — The continued popularity of
electronic tax filing has made this annual burden incredibly
simple for many taxpayers. As a result, some individuals
mistakenly equate ease-of-use with safety. Identity Finder
( presents 3 big myths that
risk your identity during tax season, as well as important
security tips to prevent identity theft.

Myth #1: Supporting documents such as PDFs used in the
creation of your tax returns are safe on your computer.

Truth: By default PDFs are not secured and hackers may
attempt to access your computer in various ways via viruses,
Trojans and botnets.

— Password-protect all tax returns that you print to PDF
  from your tax software so Social Security Numbers are
  secure. Use a digital shredder to permanently delete
  unsecured documents on your computer that contain personal
  information used to prepare your tax return. — Configure all peer-to-peer file sharing programs to
  disable the sharing of your personal folders so identity
  thieves can’t download your tax return.

— Install the latest updates to your operating system to
  prevent known Windows or Mac vulnerabilities from being
  exploited by hackers.

— Don’t save your password in your web browser when
  accessing payroll services, employers, banks and other
  institutions that keep your personal information.

Myth #2: It’s safe to electronically transmit confidential
data to an accountant, employer, or the IRS.

Truth: Your personal information is at great risk when it is
en route from one location to another. Hackers and identity
thieves have the ability to eavesdrop or spy on it when it
is unprotected.

— Encrypt supporting tax documents you plan to email to
  your accountant to prevent anyone from snooping on your
  network and gaining access to your financial information.

— Create strong passwords when registering to download your
  IRS W2 forms, 1099s, and other personal tax documents from
  your employer so they are not easily guessed by strangers.

Myth #3: Paper copies of your tax documentation are always
safe since they are not accessible to electronic hackers.

Truth: Identity thieves are incredibly creative and will
attempt to access your confidential information for their
own personal gain however and wherever possible, especially
when you least expect it.

— When you postal mail your tax return to the IRS, send it
  from a secured location, like the post office or an official
  USPS collection box, and do not let it sit in the box
  overnight as it could be stolen. For added security use
  certified mail.

— If making photocopies of your financial documents, make
  sure the photocopier does not store images of them in

— Using a traditional paper shredder, destroy the printed
  documents used during tax preparation that you no longer

The government takes your tax dollars on April 15th. Don’t
let thieves take your identity, too. Employ a multi-step
approach in the prevention of identity theft that includes
awareness, changes in behavior, and security tools. One
final tip:

— Monitor your credit report regularly and download
  Identity Finder Free Edition
  ( to check your computer
  for unprotected personal information.


Identity Finder software prevents identity fraud by finding
and protecting personal information. Identity Finder, LLC is
a leading niche innovator of privacy technologies. Founded
in 2001 and headquartered in New York City, the company
specializes in developing software solutions that meet
business and consumer needs. The company’s technologies have
been used by millions of people in more than fifty

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Author: Andy Quayle

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