Time to pull out the W2's you have stashed on your desk. The tax deadline is one month away, which is a prime time for identity theft. "Attempts to steal personal and financial data always tends to surge around tax time," says financial planner Sarah Halpin.
Halpin, a VP of Investments of the Danforth Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, says there are four key things you should do before you start preparing your taxes. First, she says know the IRS will never call, email or text to demand that you pay your taxes. Halpin also says be on the lookout for phishing emails. "Don't click on links that may look suspicious," she says. Additionally, make sure you're using a secure computer with updated software and get a free credit report. Halpin suggests using the site, www.freecreditreport.com. Finally, treat your personal information like cash. "Don't leave it lying around," Halpin explains.
If you do think you're a victim of identity theft, Halpin says go to IRS.gov to fill out form 14039.
The standard deadline to file individual federal and state taxes is April 18th.