Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Most of us are careful about divulging our Social Security Numbers or Taxpayer ID Numbers. However soon to arrive in your mail will be key information which can be used to commit a wide variety of harmful identity theft and crimes of fraud. This mail often has blazed across the front of the letter such phrases as “Important Tax Documents” or other phrases that identity thieves can quickly spot. In addition the format for these documents and the envelopes that contain them make them very easy to spot if left unattended in an unsecured mail box.

Identity thieves and credit fraudsters often target un-secured mail boxes. A variety of techniques are used. Some of these techniques are simple such as opening unlocked mailboxes and simply taking the mail. Others are more sophisticated and include using simple tools to extract mail. Sometimes identity thieves will steal mail directly from postal authorities.

Identity thieves, criminal imposters, and other fraudsters know that tax time can be harvest time for identity theft. And W2’s and 1099 tax forms are of great value in committing the many crimes of identity theft.

Here are a few tips for protecting this important information and for preventing identity theft.

-- Locked Mailbox – get a locked mailbox or use a postal box to receive important documents such as W2’s and 1099

-- Clear Out Your Mailbox within 8 hours of receipt of your mail. Don’t let mail pile up in a mail box. Find out the time your mail is usually delivered and pick it up as soon after delivery as possible.

-- Store W2’s, 1099’s, and other tax documents in a locked and secured place within your home or office. Burglars know that these documents have street value and can be sold for cash to other criminals. Don’t leave these documents lying about the house or in conspicuous places such as boxes labeled Tax Documents, or next to your computer.

-- File your taxes electronically or by handing your tax documents directly to a postal official within the post office. Go to the post office window; never post tax documents in outside mail boxes.


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