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Protect yourself when filing your taxes

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Tax time is upon us, which means you need to be extra cautious when it comes to your personal information.

Identity thieves have been known to scour mailboxes, looking to get their hands on your tax forms and other important documents.

Eva Velasquez, from the Identity Theft Resource Center, said, “And it sits there all day and it’s easily accessible and it is still happening.”

This time of year, everyday mail is mixed with important financial documents, which is something scam artists are seeking.

Velasquez said, “They’re looking for any of your personally identifying information like your social security number, your tax ID number, your income.”

Officials say to be aware of anything that thieves could use to apply for credit cards, government aid or create a false tax return.

She said, “Getting your tax documents to the government first because whoever files first, that is the return that’s going to be processed.”

If you are still going to mail your return, rather than e-file, a post office box is the best way to protect your identity.

She said, “Your second option would be to get a lock on your mailbox where only you have the key. So your post master can put your mail in but only you can get it out.”

Another option is to put a temporary hold on your mail and pick it up with an ID from the post office.