Just a quick note to wish everyone a safe Halloween, and to be watchful when driving for the kids out looting and pillaging your neighborhood for treats!

Also, while reading an email blast from the AICPA today, I was reminded that Identity Theft can be a real life horror story, and you must be vigilant to be sure that you have not unknowingly fallen prey to thieves. A few things you should always do to minimize your exposure:

Always open and read any letter or notice from IRS immediately. Do not ignore these. If you have any questions ask your CPA!

Always review every transaction that appears on your credit card statements within 30 days of receiving the statement.

Check your credit reports frequently for new activity. There are services (AAA does this for free for members) that will monitor your accounts for you.

If you receive a phone call or letter from a collection agency for a debt that you don’t recognize, don’t ignore it. If it’s bogus it may be an indication of someone who is borrowing under your name.

Try to file your personal tax returns early. If you file your taxes before a scammer creates a bogus version, the bogus version will reject, not yours.

There are a lot more things you can do, but the bottom line is we all need to actively play defense when it comes to Identity Theft.

Read more tax articles from Paul’s tax blog