This holiday season, while enjoying all the online sales, it is important to shop smart. Identity thieves are out there looking for ways to steal your information. Exercise common sense when shopping online, if something looks suspicious there is probably something wrong. Be cautious of where and with which websites you are sharing your personal and financial information. As your ally in the Atlanta area for all your tax needs, our team at Fricke & Associates, LLC wants to help you have a safe and happy holiday season.
Protect Yourself Against Identity Thieves
Internet safety for online purchases should be on your mind as much as finding the best deal. When online shopping, turn to websites that you trust. Stores that you frequent when out at the mall and large well-known warehouses are good places to start shopping. Before you decide to buy, look for the lock symbol in the address bar. A green lock signifies a secure sockets layer (SSL) which is added protection on the website’s end to stop identity thieves.
When filling out personal information to make a purchase, keep your SSN and other private information secure. No retailer needs to know your mother’s maiden name or your birthday. Websites asking for this information are fraudulent and should be a red flag for you to walk away, no matter how good the deal is.
For making purchases online, it is smarter to use a credit card than a debit card for your transactions. Credit card companies have fraud protection plans and will fight to get your money back for unauthorized purchases. Debit cards take money directly out of your bank, the same day as the transaction, and do not have the same fraud protection. Additionally, a debit card is linked to more of your personal information and can be more detrimental if stolen.
A CPA’s Role in Protecting Against Identity Thieves
When concerned about your financial information online, a team member that you can trust is your CPA. Tax preparers are accountable to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of taxpayer data by maintaining certain disclosure and restricting access. We will monitor preparer tax identification number (PTIN) accounts, ensuring that only the appropriate returns are being filed under your number. If someone is trying to steal your identity, we will be a partner in helping to stop them and protecting you. If someone files a tax return using your social security number or the number of a family member, we will assist you by working with the IRS to ensure that they have the correct information.
Ensure that you are working with a team that you can trust to protect your identity this holiday season and year-round. Our tax professionals at Fricke & Associates, LLC can be your powerful ally in the Atlanta area. Contact our team today to learn more about identity protection, tax preparation and safe online shopping.