Employers have sent out W-2s for their employees, which means a whole lot of sensitive personal information is on the loose. This is a prime time for identity thieves to get ahold of this information and use it for illegal purposes. People who are expecting their W-2s can engage anti-theft measures by being alert about where their paperwork is at, and aware of the signs that someone has stolen information.
Keep an eye on the mailbox if W-2s are sent by post. This is perhaps the weakest link as thieves are known to swipe the envelope, copy the information, and then put it back into the mail. W-2s are supposed to arrive by Jan. 31 so people can do their taxes. If not, contact the employer about the missing paperwork.
Know where all copies are located. At home, put them in something that locks, such as a drawer, cabinet or safe. In the event that a visit to the accountant requires the W-2s, don’t leave them lying out for anyone to see.
Learn the warning signs of identity theft. Thieves will file a tax return as soon as they get their hands on a W-2. If something doesn’t seem right when filing, contact the IRS about the issue and follow the instructions to file an identity theft report.