1. TurboTax /
  2. Tax Calculators & Tips /
  3. Tax Tips Guides & Videos /
  4. Security /
  5. Tips for Keeping Your Tax Data Secure

Tips for Keeping Your Tax Data Secure

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

In 2014, the number of complaints about criminals pretending to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials was almost 24 times the number reported in 2013. To avoid the growing risk of tax-related scams and identity theft, keep your financial data safe by following certain procedures. It's also important to back up your information for easy access if an unexpected disaster strikes.


Beware of phone and phishing scams

Holding a tablet

In an attempt to steal your money or personal information, tax scammers may call and demand immediate payment over the phone or send you bogus emails or notices asking you to update your tax account. Do not respond to these requests—the IRS will not call you and insist on immediate payment, nor will it send you electronic correspondences.

If you do get an email claiming to be from the IRS, don't click on any email attachments or links, which may contain malicious viruses that can contaminate your computer. Generally, the IRS will never send you an email. If you're unsure whether a notice is legitimately from the IRS, call the agency to find out.

Guard your passwords

According to the IRS, identify theft and other scams tend to succeed because people often use the same login passwords for all their online accounts. Instead, create strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts that include:

  • A combination of upper- and lower-case letters
  • Numbers and special characters
  • At least 10 characters long

Be sure to change your login and passwords often. It may be helpful to use software or apps like Password Safe or Keeper Password Manager that can automatically generate strong passwords and store them for you.

Protect your computer

Restrict unauthorized access to your computer by password-protecting sensitive data. Consider encrypting important files. For example, use PDF encryption software to secure PDF copies of your tax returns. Encrypting these files protects your data if someone steals your computer or otherwise gains unauthorized access. Other proactive steps include:

  • Keep confidential files in a folder that cannot be shared
  • Remove your hard drive from your computer's hard drive before selling or disposing of it
  • Install antivirus software on your computer
  • Regularly run malware checks

Use secure networks and websites

When you access the Internet over a public Wi-Fi network—such as those provided at airports, libraries, coffee shops and hotels—the connection is often not secure. This means other people may be able to discover private information you send through websites while using these networks

Whenever possible, use a secure wireless network when sending personal and financial information over the Internet. If you must use a public Wi-Fi hotspot, send such information only through fully encrypted websites—the URL address for every page on the site should start with “https.”

Prepare for disasters

Unexpected disasters, such as floods, fires and earthquakes, can occur at any time. Store a copy of your financial information on a USB memory stick or external hard drive in case your hard copies and computer are damaged.

A memory stick is easy to carry if you need to quickly evacuate the area. Use the USB to store copies of prior year's tax returns, insurance policy and account numbers, property titles, wills and mortgage information.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $59.99$39.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (forms 1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state limited time offer only available with TurboTax Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: To receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed through 4/30/19, you must pay for your 2017 TurboTax Self-Employed return by 4/17/18 and sign-in and access your QuickBooks Self-Employed account via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax at least twice by 7/15/18. You will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 4/30/19 for another year at the then-current subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison. Offer not valid for existing QuickBooks Self-Employed subscribers already on a payment plan.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15%) for tax year 2017. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Help and Support: Access to a TurboTax specialist is included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed and TurboTax Live; not included with Free Edition (but is available as an upgrade). TurboTax specialists are available to provide general customer help and support using the TurboTax product. SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Advice, Expert Review and TurboTax Live: Access to tax advice and Expert Review (the ability to have a Tax Expert review and/or sign your tax return) is included with TurboTax Live or as an upgrade from another version, and available through October 15, 2018. These services are provided only by credentialed CPAs, EAs or tax attorneys. State tax advice is free. Some tax topics or situations may not be included as part of this service, which shall be determined in the tax expert's sole discretion. In the event your return is reviewed by a tax expert and requires a significant level of tax advice or actual preparation, the tax expert may be required to sign your return as the preparer at which point they will assume primary responsibility for the preparation of your return. Expert Review [and TurboTax Live] not available on the TurboTax mobile app or when using a web browser on your mobile phone. On-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access and My Docs features: Included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed, TurboTax Live or with PLUS benefits. Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available through 10/31/2019. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2016 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • Get tips based on your tax and credit data to help get you to where you want to be: Tax and credit data accessed upon your consent.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2016 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies; may require a free Intuit online account. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2016 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2012 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.