With more than 10 million Americans made vulnerable to identity theft during tax season, it’s natural to wonder how safe your private information is when filing taxes online. After all, identity thieves are becoming savvier, and for every protective measure produced, it seems there is always a malware product right behind it. In fact, studies have shown that identity theft is on the rise, and it isn’t always done online. A significant portion of identity theft occurs from criminals stealing personal mail and then using the tax ID information located on the W-2 and 1099 forms to impersonate the victim. The envelopes that contain these forms are legally required to be labeled “Official Tax Document Enclosed,” which makes it easy for criminals to identify.
As a business owner, if any information that you e-file should be stolen by online criminals, you and your company could be liable for the damaging result of the employee. It’s important, then, to make sure that any data you submit on an employee or independent contractor’s behalf is safe and secure.
Encryption is the process of ‘jumbling’ information and data as it moves from point A to point B. Without getting too technical, this scrambling makes it extremely difficult for anyone to intercept the data and gain access to valuable information. There are sophisticated programmers out there, however, who can intercept the encryption and unscramble the info. It isn’t common, but it does happen, as hackers and criminals become more computer savvy.
SSN Masking offers an extra layer of protection, along with encryption. This adds to the security of your information and also protects you, the business owner, against any liability.
E-filing highly confidential documents and forms using a system that uses SSN Masking can assure both you and your employees that all information will be safe and untouchable by would-be criminals.
SSN Masking is synonymous with the term SSN Truncation. What it does is replaces the first five numbers of an employee’s social security or tax ID number with “X”s before preparing the form to be mailed. This allows for a completely secure mailing, eliminating the option for criminals to gain access to personal data.
If you’d like to eliminate the process of physically mailing the forms altogether, you also have the option of emailing them to recipients. Keep in mind that you will have to abide by certain IRS regulations that include:
• Opting into SSN Masking
• Encrypt the document and make sure it’s password protected
• Receive approval to email the forms or get a confirmation of receipt to PDF.
If you use a system like Wage Filing, your SSN Masking is a standard feature, so you know you’ll be getting the maximum protection possible.
The idea of yours or your employees’ information being stolen is a scary thought, and it can be difficult to know which way to get the information out – via mail or online. Both methods can fall prey to identity theft; but with the SSN Masking feature, you can have peace of mind knowing that your private information is as secure as possible in today’s highly technological world.
Wage Filing can help with all of your tax needs, including e-filing. Visit the website today for more information about their range of services.