How To Protect Your Private Data

In the latest ‘Tax Tips’ update released by the IRS, they provided some valuable insight on methods to keep your data safe from cyber criminals. Most commonly, thieves are using data they steal to file fake tax returns or commit crimes while impersonating their victims. Below are the steps that the IRS has shared.

Keep a secure computer. Taxpayers should:

  • Use security software that updates automatically. Essential tools for keeping a secure computer include a firewall, virus and malware protection, and file encryption for sensitive data.

  • Treat personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.

  • Give personal information only over encrypted and trusted websites.

  • Use strong passwords and protect them.

Avoid Phishing and Malware. Taxpayers should:

  • Not respond to emails, texts or calls that appear to be from the IRS, tax companies and other well-known businesses. Instead, verify contact information about companies or agencies by going directly to their website.

  • Be cautious of email attachments. Think twice before opening them.

  • Turn off the option to automatically download attachments.

  • Download and install software only from known and trusted websites.

Protect personal information. Taxpayers should:

  • Not routinely carry a Social Security card or other documents showing a Social Security number.

  • Not overshare personal information on social media. This includes information about past addresses, a new car, a new home and children.

  • Keep old tax returns and tax records under lock and key.

  • Safeguard electronic files by encrypting and properly disposing them.

  • Shred tax documents before trashing.

Taxpayers should forward IRS-related scam emails to They can report IRS impersonation telephone calls at

At The Doty Group, all methods of data transfer that we use are secure. That’s why you’ll receive Sharefile links from us in order to share personal information on things such as signed documents and workpaper uploads. Our Tax Return delivery software, Safesend, also requires an ID verification via credit reporting questions and answers. Any of the processes we use to analyze data, prepare returns or statements, and store client information are conducted on a certified secure cloud environment, and stored on an encrypted server.

If you have any questions regarding a letter or another matter of data security, feel free to contact our office at any time.

The Doty Group is a full-service CPA firm offering Tax, Audit, Valuation, and Advisory Services to Businesses and Individuals in Tacoma, WA.