Avoid ID theft at tax time
By Roger MillerFeatures Expert Advice Opinion northeastern protection service
Each year at this time Canadian residents are zealously preparing for the looming and often dreaded tax season. This planning includes various phases for each of us, however, most of us will be looking at RRSP options, gathering tax receipts from the previous year and compiling all of the data either electronically, in hard document format or both. This is a task that requires focus.
While our focus will be on the income tax process, the focus for identity thieves will be on the plethora of data in circulation. It will be as overwhelming for the thieves to manage the opportunity as it will be for the rest of us to manage the challenge. Here are a few suggestions to assist with mitigating the potential risks:
• Protect your personal information; don’t expect others to do it.
• Verify that you have received all of the receipts or other documents you are expecting. If a document does not arrive, contact the entity of origin.
• Secure any documents with personal information. In the event of a break-in to your car or home, these documents should not be accessible to thieves.
• Copy and print documents only where you are comfortable with the document management. Most current copiers / printers have hard drives that store the data copied and this data could be accessed later without your knowledge.
• Ensure any information you transmit is received by the intended recipient(s).
• Limit the circulation of your personal data to only those who absolutely need it and you are comfortable with having it. Do not share your personal identity information without need.
• If transmitting data electronically, ensure your privacy is protected via the Internet / network connection.
• Be alert for and report any suspicious activity.
There are a number of private and government organizations working to help you protect your identity, for more information visit: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or call 1-888-495-8501
Roger Miller, is vice-president at Northeastern Protection Service (www.protectionpartner.ca).
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