If you’re planning to store any sensitive personal information on your computer, first make sure it’s virus free. If your computer is infected with malicious software, it’s possible for somebody else to steal documents or record your keystrokes.
“Anything that you send electronically or type electronically could potentially be gleaned by a thief,” says Denise Terry of myID.com.
Ms. Terry says that if you’re using an accountant, it’s much safer to hand deliver electronic files on a USB, and if you must e-mail it, do so using a secure link. You should also make sure your accountant will delete or destroy the files after your return is submitted.
[Editor's note: The number of identity theft complaints to the FTC between 2005 and 2009 was not originally attributed to the Scripps Howard News Service. That statistic came from a Scripps analysis of 1.4 million complaints to the FTC that the news service obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.]