Facebook Rss Twitter Youtube MSN

Dear Liz: I sent my tax preparer everything he needed for my return, including the originals of my W2 forms, bank 1099s, property tax bills (including a copy of the check showing the payment) and a year-end mortgage statement. A week later he said it was done and that he had mailed the return and paperwork back to me. It’s been three weeks and I still haven’t received the paperwork. What I did get was a direct deposit of my refund, so apparently he filed the return without telling me. I am sick to death that all my private financial information is floating around in the mail system somewhere and that it could get into the hands of a dishonest person.

Answer: You’ve learned a couple lessons, foremost among them that you need a new tax pro. Filing your return without letting you see it was a definite no-no.

Another lesson is that your private financial data probably shouldn’t be entrusted to the U.S. mail system. It’s more secure to drop your documents off with your tax preparer and pick them up yourself, along with a copy of your return, when he or she is done. The original return can be electronically filed using the IRS’ secure, encrypted system, eliminating the need to use the mail.

You can put 90-day fraud alerts on your credit reports at the three major bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Fraud alerts notify lenders that they should take extra steps to verify identity before opening accounts in your name. For more protection, you may want to consider a credit freeze, which doesn’t rely on lenders’ sometimes-wavering vigilance but that allows you to shut off access to your credit reports, preventing thieves from opening new credit accounts. For more information, visit the Consumers Union site www.financialprivacynow.org.

Related Posts

  • Wait 7 years to shred tax documents
    Dear Liz: With tax time coming up, I have an important question. For years I have been told that the IRS has three years to audit you and after three...
  • 5 dumb things to do with your taxes
    W-2s and other tax documents are starting to arrive in the mail, signaling the beginning of the U.S. tax season for individual taxpayers. Oh, yay. ...
  • More on why you shouldn’t trust the mail
    Dear Liz: In a recent column, you discussed two instances in which the tax preparer screwed up, and yet you concluded the problem was with the post...
  • Friday’s need-to-know money news
    The best place to rent a car for your summer road trip, six surprises that could ruin your retirement and how baby boomers can keep their identities ...

Categories : Identity Theft, Q&A, Taxes



I send all of my tax payments via certified mail. I had an issue last year with a payment being lost, but i saved myself by having the signed receipt.
It’s not that expensive, i think it was around $3-$4 for each letter. Definitely worth the extra time to do it.