Tax Season: An Identity Thief’s Paradise

LifeLock provides recommendations to help protect personal information during tax season

Tempe, Ariz. — Many consumers look forward to tax season in anticipation of a hefty return. In the same instance, many identity thieves look forward to tax season as well, only in anticipation of beating you to your hefty return. As consumers are gathering their documents to complete their income taxes for the prior year, they are sending and receiving documents that contain significant amounts of personally identifiable information (PII), especially through peer-to-peer file sharing networks. These networks help open up consumers' PII to savvy thieves online, leading to potential identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported in 2009 that from 2006 to 2008, the number of consumer complaints regarding fraudulent tax returns that were filed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had doubled (6% to 12%).

LifeLock, Inc. (www.lifelock.com), the industry leader in proactive identity theft protection, understands the threats this time of year poses to consumers and provides the following recommendations to best protect PII during tax season and beyond:

STOP SHARING! - Consumers that have downloaded peer-to-peer file sharing networks onto their computers are at risk for identity theft if they keep tax documents on the same computers. Examples of peer-to-peer file sharing networks include popular programs such as LimeWire, BearShare and KaZaa. These types of file sharing networks allow users to share music, photos, as well as all other documents on the computer. To help secure personal tax documents, peer-to-peer file sharing networks should be removed from personal computers.

SEARCH FOR THE "S" - When using online tax preparation software, be sure that the Web site is secure and that you see an https:// in the URL. The "s" in the URL indicates that the server is secure and personal information can be transmitted safely.

TAKE A TRIP - When filing income taxes by mail, help protect your personal information by taking your sealed IRS envelope to the post office instead of your personal mailbox. Identity thieves can't steal from your mailbox what isn't there.

BE PROACTIVE - Because no one can stop all identity theft, take the proper precautions and engage a proactive identity theft protection service like LifeLock® to help safeguard your personal information. LifeLock is the only identity theft protection agency offering consumers with a front line of defense against peer-to-peer identity theft. In addition, LifeLock's next generation of identity theft protection services work to place a front line of defense against identity theft and back it up with a $1 Million Total Service Guarantee (Restrictions apply. See LifeLock.com for details. Due to New York State law restrictions, the LifeLock Service Guarantee cannot be offered to the residents of New York.)

About LifeLock

LifeLock, Inc. (www.lifelock.com) is an industry leader in proactive identity theft protection. Since 2005, LifeLock has been providing consumers with the tools and confidence they need to help protect them from identity theft. The company has a strong focus on educating consumers and working with law enforcement and elected officials to better understand the increasing threats of identity theft. A multiple award-winning organization, LifeLock has been recognized by the American Business Awards as Best Overall Company, by AlwaysOn to the Top Global Company 250 list and most recently by Arizona Corporate Excellence as Arizona's Fastest Growing Company.