Nearly two-thirds of Americans in a new survey say they aren’t worried about their identities being stolen during tax season.
They’re taking an “it could never happen to me approach,” IDT911, a data security and identity theft protection firm, reported this week.
This laxness shows up in various forms. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they did not lock their mailbox when they were expecting to receive a refund through the mail, leaving personal information exposed to possible theft.
Nineteen percent said they had not ensured that their Wi-Fi network was password protected if filing online from home, making them easy marks for hackers.
And just 12% planned to file in January, while the rest ignored expert advice that early filers can stay a step ahead of identity thieves as they gear up for the tax season.
In any event, 48% of Americans believed that the holiday shopping season was the riskiest time of year, with only 30% saying it was tax filing season.
The survey also found that 38% of respondents, including 92% of millennials, did not know how to vet a tax preparer’s credibility.
Fifty-two percent said they did not trust, or were unsure about the trustworthiness of, online tax services. IDT911 said this was likely due to recent data breaches of multiple providers.
The findings were based on a Google Consumer Survey of some 1,500 consumers in the U.S., aged 18 and older.
IDT911 said its tax fraud center had seen a 154% year-over-year increase in tax-related cases in 2015, owing to Americans’ failure to protect personal information and identity thieves’ growing sophistication.