Tax season has just passed. Hopefully most of us are still glowing and skipping down the street from the lovely refund that we received. You may have been able to pay off a few bills, buy some new furniture, or you may be saving and planning to take your family on a much needed vacation.
Along with tax preparation can come a lot of paperwork. We have to collect W2 forms, 1099 forms, receipts, expense reports, and more. It can be a pretty large amount of paper. Tax professionals recommend that we keep at least 3 years worth of past tax documents in our files… just in case. If the IRS comes knocking and tells us that we are being audited that paperwork will come in handy. Or, you may find out that you could have claimed a couple of deductions that you were not aware of. This is a great reason to get your taxes appended. In either case, those are very sensitive documents to have laying around the house, or just stuffed into a file cabinet.
If you are holding on to sensitive documents like tax information, birth certificates, and social security cards, those items should be kept in a secure location in your home like a personal safe or lockbox. Or, you may opt to rent a safe-deposit box at your bank. That will insure that those items are kept out of the wrong hands.
However, what do you do when it is time to get rid of sensitive documents? Right after tax time is a great time to spring clean your file cabinet. It is then when you rotate out and get rid of the older documents to make room for the new ones. How you dispose of them is important. Shredding is key. The proper disposal is to shred them with a cross-cut shredder. I would also suggest scanning them first and keeping a secure digital copy. Keeping a digital copy on hand is a great idea to eliminate the paper clogging up the office. But, you will still have access to them if need be. Also, you may not think about it, but you should eliminate your name and address on any mail that you throw out. It is a known fact that some identity theft occurs from thieves that rummage through garbage looking for names and addresses on things as simple as magazine covers. They may then find bits of social security numbers and more that they can match up and use to compose an identity theft scheme in your name.
And remember, this can happen with your child's information as well. Many of our kids have social security numbers. They may even have mail in their names from hospital bills, school mail, and more. Thieves can use this information to sign up for new credit cards in your child's name. All it takes is one stray piece of mail. Enrolling your child in a service like kIDSure can protect them from child identity theft.
Be careful and use caution to protect your sensitive information to protect yourself and your kids from identity theft.
Disclosure: This service was provided to me for review at no charge. In addition I received monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.