Tax-related identity theft is a growing problem: The use of stolen Social Security numbers to collect fraudulent tax returns rose more than 78 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the National Tax Advocate, a government position that serves as the "voice of the taxpayer" at the IRS.
ProtectMyID, a program of information services company Experian, has tips to safeguard your identity, including:
u Don't leave your tax documents in your car. Put them in a safe or a locking file cabinet.
v Some tax-preparation apps require you to take photos of W2 forms. Be sure to delete the images after use.
w Don't use public computers to e-file your taxes, and don't follow email or text message links to the IRS site -- always type IRS.gov directly into a browser.
If you do feel an email, text or phone call you've received is fraudulent, report it to email@example.com.
-- Jennifer Kopf