Tax season is here. For most of your clients and prospects, that means the headache of crunching numbers and rebalancing the budget to pay Uncle Sam. Tax time takes on a different meaning to thieves.
Most of the documents needed for taxes are very revealing. They contain client’s name, address, credit account information and most importantly, their SSN. For the identity thief, it means that there is a treasure chest of information to be targeted in the next two months. This provides you, as a trusted source, with a reason to meet with your clients and prospects to share the following ID Theft prevention checklist – ways to help prevent their personal identifying information out of the hands of would-be thieves.
Feel free to use the copy below when meeting with a client or prospect, as information to present during a social prospect or client event, or as part of your direct mail invitation content.
ID Theft Prevention Checklist:
- Document Disposal – Once you have gathered the receipts, paperwork and the various forms you need to calculate your taxes, make sure that any papers you no longer need go through a good, cross-cut shredder. Papers with credit card account numbers, Social Security numbers (health benefit payment forms), loan papers, and such all have information that a thief can convert into a new credit account in your name. This tip also applies to all the papers you decide to dispose of from previous years. Just because a receipt is 7-years old does not mean it cannot be used to your detriment.
- Computer Security – Many of us do our taxes or prepare our information for tax accountants on our computers. If your computer links to the Internet it must have firewall software to protect it from invasion.
- Mail Theft Prevention Tip – Since these tax forms have a lot of information on them, the best advice is to take the forms directly to the post office, dropping them in a box INSIDE the post office. It is best to not drop them in an outside box after last pick-up of the day since that gives a thief more opportunity to steal the mail. Do not leave them in the outgoing box at work, drop them at the corner blue box or leave them in an unlocked box for pickup.
- Social Security Number on the Check – Should I or shouldn’t I? Since your check goes through so many hands, it is best not to print your entire SSN on the face of the check. The last 4 numbers should suffice if you decide to put any part of the number at all.
- Tax Preparers – Be selective about who works on your taxes. Check out companies with the Better Business Bureau, especially if they are new or seasonal offices. Ask questions of the managers. How will your information be stored? What type of computer security do they use? Has the person who will be working on your taxes gone through a thorough background screening? Do you see other people’s papers sitting around? If you feel uncomfortable or believe this is not a company that understands security issues, take your business elsewhere.
Jorge Villar is President of Response Mail Express (RME), with more than 26 years of direct marketing experience, he is known in several industries for his ability to create mail packages that garner the highest response rates. He is responsible for the Seminar Success program that, for the last 17 years has accounted for more than 65% of the events being held in the nation with over 14 million individuals making reservations. Mr. Villar has also been very successful marketing to physicians and business owners regarding Success Planning and Asset Protection. Response Mail Express, and parent company DME, is a $100+ million marketing powerhouse, housing over 600 employees in their 2 state-of-the-art facilities in Florida. Their marketing ideas are presently being utilized by over 10,000 clients, including: top producing advisors, estate planning attorneys, large financial organizations, health care organizations, universities and many other industries. Mr. Villar is a frequent key note speaker at national financial symposium and training conferences.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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