Protecting Your Social Security Number at Tax Time

Protecting Your Social Security Number at Tax Time

It’s always important to protect your Social Security number (SSN), but it’s extra important to do so around tax time. The tax forms you receive (job, banks) and your tax returns will all have it on them, but you can take some steps to protect your SSN and safeguard yourself against identity theft.

Watch Your Postal Mail

Pay attention to your mail for your tax forms (W-2, 1099). Since they contain your SSN, a missing form could mean you’re at risk of identity theft.

File Carefully


Make sure that your anti-virus protection is up to date and scan your computer. It’s also a good idea to have a firewall installed.

Walk-In Tax Preparation Service

It’s important to check out the office to see how well your privacy and personal information will be protected. Will your conversations be easily overheard? Are computer monitors visible to others? Are discarded documents properly shredded?

Professional Tax Services

Check out their privacy policy and security practices before using their services.

Postal Mail

Mail your tax return from a secure location before the last scheduled pickup time, if possible (don’t leave it in a collection box overnight).

Look Out for Scams

If you get an email saying that it’s from the IRS, it’s most likely a scam (they don’t start communications through email) and you shouldn’t reply or open any links in the message.

Discard Old Records

When throwing out tax records you no longer need, be sure to shred anything that has your SSN or other personal information on it. It’s best to use a crosscut or confetti shredder (strip cut shredders can be easily pieced together).