In 2016, an estimated 15.4 million consumers were victims of some form of identity theft. Given the massive data breaches in 2017, that number is only likely to rise.

Hackers can then use the stolen identity data, like Social Security Numbers (SSN) and passwords, to file fraudulent tax returns and pocket the refunds.

During tax season, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warns consumers to avoid common tax scams from “unscrupulous return preparers” to phishing emails and websites. But what about your passwords?

In this post, I’ll show you how to better protect your sensitive information while filing your tax returns.

Protect your tax software and other sensitive accounts with uncrackable passwords

Accounts that house your SSN or other sensitive identity data should be protected with unique, complex passwords. If you file your taxes online, it’s especially important to protect that account.

Since tax season only comes around once a year and you’re likely to forget your password, you can use Password Generator to create a new one. It will automatically save to your Dashlane password vault.

Already have a password for your tax login? Make sure it hasn’t been reused for another account or compromised from a recent data breach. In addition to changing your passwords once, you should aim to change them regularly. Since hackers rely on password reuse, it’s best to always keep them guessing.

Share sensitive information safely and only with trusted sources

Thinking about sending your tax returns, social security number, or any other sensitive information via email? You should reconsider. Following the massive Yahoo hacks that compromised 1.5 billion accounts, and, more recently, the sale of one million of Gmail and Yahoo accounts on the dark web, your personal email account isn’t the place to store that kind of sensitive information.

Instead, you can use Dashlane’s Secure Notes or the IDs section of the Digital Wallet to send sensitive information to a relative or your accountant, like your social security number, tax info, and your driver’s license number.

Unlike emails, Secure Notes also allow you to revoke access to sensitive information with a recipient. For instance, when your accountant or relative no longer needs your social security number, simply revoke the Secure Note at any time.

Update your software and setup account alerts

Don’t put off operating system updates to your computer and phone. By accepting the updates as they roll out, you are receiving the most up-to-date security patches and fixes.

Another measure to make sure your identity is safe is to sign up for text and email alerts for your most sensitive accounts, like bank and credit cards. If you use Dashlane, we’ll always let you know if a data breach potentially impacts any of your saved accounts with our Security Alerts.

Use a password manager

Updating every password to be unique and complex is key in protecting yourself against hackers but remembering each of those passwords is nearly impossible. Using a password manager allows you to store them for quick, secure access.

Dashlane’s password manager can help you avoid identity-theft headaches by:

  • Providing a secure, encrypted storage space for all of your sensitive data either not protected elsewhere or easily forgotten
  • Generates and/or updates passwords to be complex and unique using Password Generator and Password Changer
  • Allowing you to securely share items with trusted sources and revoke sharing access at any point
  • Informing you of any accounts within Dashlane that have been compromised

I just showed you how to better protect yourself during tax season in general and with Dashlane. You should now understand how to generate new passwords with Password Generator, share and revoke information with Secure Notes, and use Dashlane’s password manager to prevent identity theft as you file your taxes.

You can also find some additional resources on our blog to help you identify phishing scams, understand the true costs of being an identity theft victim, and how to avoid security headaches before, during, and after you’ve filed your taxes. Share these resources with your friends, family, and colleagues!

Ready to tackle your personal taxes with the help of Dashlane? Download it today–it’s free! Dashlane Business can also help businesses and their employees safely file their taxes, too! Click here to learn more and start a free 30 day trial!

Looking for more tips to keep your tax and financial documents safe? Check out these resources!
13 Ways You (And Your Accountant) Can Avoid Security Headaches at Tax Time
The Hidden Costs of Identity Theft You Didn’t Know
A 5-Step Guide to Checking “Secure My Passwords” Off Your List
Improve your Dashlane Security Score in 5 Easy Steps
How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams