Keeping Your Tax Return Safe

March 30, 2007

Losing your tax return in a public area is your worst nightmare and an identity thief’s dream come true!

Mobile Tax Return
I use Turbo Tax to do our family taxes every year. I store the tax file on a flash drive so I can access it from multiple computers. In addition, I have last year’s tax return saved off in a pdf format on the drive. This flash drive goes with me to work and back everyday so you can imagine my dismay when it went missing recently.

Tax Data MIA
I searched high and low once I realized the drive was missing. I suddenly pictured identity thieves coming out of the woodwork, finding it on my desk at work or on the floor at the gas station. Having a dishonest person find all this tax information would be a nightmare for me and a dream come true for them.

1040 Safe & Sound
Luckily I eventually located my lost flash drive so my tax data is safe for the time being. I’m taking my tax returns off of the drive after this episode and wanted to publish a warning to anyone else that had their information on some type of mobile device. I had considered the issue in the past but never really took it seriously until it was (almost) too late. Be smarter than me 🙂


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to Keeping Your Tax Return Safe

  • Blaine Moore (First Time Home Owner)

    I did the same thing last year; I had a copy of my return on my flash drive so that I could review it before mailing it in, and it fell out of my pocket while I was waiting for the bus. Thankfully, somebody pointed it out to me.

    I try not to keep overly sensitive documents on my flash drives longer than I need them on there anymore, and I have my drive encrypted. If I do lose it, I probably won’t have to worry about it (most thieves who would get it would probably just format it and use the hardware, rather than spend the time and money to crack my password or encryption scheme) so there is a little extra peace of mind.


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