Essential steps to monitor and safeguard your tax information from identity theft

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Identity theft protection packages, including those for families, are an effective way to defend yourself against cybercriminal attacks. They are also very affordable. In today's digital world, we tend to share a lot of personal information online, so having a defense mechanism in place is wise. 

You might think that your social media content is the only way a cybercriminal can get hold of your information. However, these criminals are intelligent and can piece together more information about you than what's available on your social media accounts. With so many online forms to fill and our need to interact with people digitally, there's a high possibility that cybercriminals can access a lot of your personal information if they know where to look. 

It's crucial to be careful with what and who you share things with online. Even details like your personal tax information and your Social Security number can be stolen if you're not cautious.

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Smarter software

Therefore, investing in identity theft protection is an excellent idea, which can go a long way to preventing ID theft. Not only that, but many packages available for just a few dollars a month can also help you restore your identity if it ends up being left in tatters by fraudsters. If you don't fancy doing chores such as monitoring your credit, which you should do to check all is good with it, this might also drive your search for the best identity theft protection.

While identity theft protection might not be able to prevent cybercriminals from working behind the scenes to procure your details, these software services can certainly help by alerting you to any unusual behavior. If you've already been a victim of identity theft or feel you're at more risk of it than others, signing up for a package is a good idea. The same goes if you don't want to freeze your credit, which you can do if you contact the three credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.


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Credit freeze

Going down the route of a credit freeze can be a good idea if you want to effectively lock down the data in your credit report. By doing this, it means nobody can get to see the information contained in the file without obtaining your consent in the first place. This has obvious benefits, especially if you've had something critical like your Social Security number stolen or feel that a fraudster might have obtained it if you've had some unusual correspondence with the IRS about your personal tax affairs.

Of course, this involves a little legwork: you need to contact the three bureaus individually. Although the good news is that carrying out a credit freeze won't harm your credit score, it does need to be lifted if you plan on applying for new credit moving forward. However, considering how good a credit freeze can be for securing your personal information, this is a minor inconvenience. You can carry out a credit freeze by calling Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion or applying online to their websites.

Helping hand

Securing a freeze on your credit is one thing, but identity theft protection packages do other things, too. They can make a lot of sense if you’re looking for a one-stop solution that saves you from performing many of these tasks. Tracking your credit score off your own back is one thing, and it’s relatively easy.

Similarly, if you feel you might be the victim of identity theft, it’s also straightforward to contact the federal government, which has a handy website that offers assistance at This help hub contains everything you need to know if you’ve become a victim of ID theft, suspect it might be happening right now, and the steps involved in reporting the crime. The site can also offer help on how to deal with the aftermath. Best of all, the information is free.

Professional protection

Nevertheless, identity theft protection companies are great at doing several things, all rolled into one package. While they might not be able to freeze your credit, they can help monitor your credit files. If their systems spot something untoward, they can quickly alert you to things like new accounts being opened using your details. That means you can take steps immediately rather than being notified later.

This is also a great help in taking steps to minimize any potential damage occurring, both in terms of damage to your personal information and theft of personal finances. You might, for example, be able to prevent fraudulent accounts from being set up using your details or stop criminals racking up lots of debts in your name. Adding to the appeal is how identity theft protection companies can help you pick through any damage done, assist you in recovering lost finances and also restore your credit record.

ID Theft

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Valuable software

While there is a cost involved in signing up for identity theft protection, the potential rewards can justify the outlay. Many identity theft protection packages come with insurance policies of up to $1 million which, should you fall victim to the increasingly common issue of ID theft, could be a beneficial thing to have in place.

On top of that, identity theft protection can offer additional benefits, such as monitoring dark websites that might be selling your personal information. Some packages even have anti-virus, VPN functionality, and other services that add extra value. So it’s certainly worth shopping around and seeing if there’s a package that fits your personal needs and requirements.

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Bryan M Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 15-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!