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USA Today: Seven tips to avoid ID theft during tax season

(1) Your identity may have been stolen if the IRS notifies you that someone has already filed a return using your information. Another bad sign: If the IRS notifies you that you were paid wages from an employer where you did not work.

(2) If you think you may be at risk for identity theft due to a stolen wallet or questionable credit activity, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. A taxpayer guide to ID theft is on the IRS web site www.irs.gov.

(3) Run the other way, if a tax preparer asks you to sign a blank return. Never sign a blank tax return.

(4) Skip using the Wi-Fi at a coffee spot, hotel or fast food location to file tax returns online.

(5) Some tax apps require users to take a photo of a W-2 form, but you want to make absolutely sure to delete that image afterwards, according to the Experian ProtectMyID's list of tips for tax time.

(6) Do not leave your tax returns or any of the key paperwork in the car, on the kitchen counter or on top of the desk at home. It's too easy for thieves to get your information.

(7) Take a look at your Social Security earnings statement each year. If that number is off, you need to connect with the IRS immediately, said Adam Levin, chairman of Identity Theft 911.

Click here for the full article from the April 6, 2013 online edition of the USA Today.

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