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Level 1

If I lost an unsecured USB device containing my tax returns, in a public place, what should I do to protect my, and my spouse's, identities and security?

 
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Level 20

If I lost an unsecured USB device containing my tax returns, in a public place, what should I do to protect my, and my spouse's, identities and security?

Some things you can do are:

Register for an account at social security for each person whose ssn was lost, to keep someone else from registering you.  Likewise register for accounts at the IRS web site.  

Lock or freeze your credit reports.  This will prevent anyone from opening accounts (including you, but you can temporarily unlock your reports to apply for new credit.  A “freeze” is a federally regulated procedure but the big 3 now allow you to do a “lock/unlock” for free, although they will try to sell you credit monitoring.  

See if any of your credit cards give you a credit score or credit reports as a card member benefit.  Consider signing up for a free credit monitoring service like Turbo or Credit Karma (they will use your info to market to you) or possibly enroll in a paid service that might not market to you.
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Level 19

If I lost an unsecured USB device containing my tax returns, in a public place, what should I do to protect my, and my spouse's, identities and security?

You will have to hope the person who finds it is not dishonest.
They might even return it to you.
Level 20

If I lost an unsecured USB device containing my tax returns, in a public place, what should I do to protect my, and my spouse's, identities and security?

You can also file a form 14039-T identity theft affidavit for each person.  The IRS might not accept it without proof that your identity was actually misused (instead of just lost).  But if they do accept it, they will issue a 6-digit identity protection PIN and then no one (including you) can file a tax return in your name without the IP-PIN.
Level 20

If I lost an unsecured USB device containing my tax returns, in a public place, what should I do to protect my, and my spouse's, identities and security?

A federal law allows you to get a free credit report from each of the 3 bureaus once a year.  This is the only authorized free credit report site.  <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action</a>. You can get one report from each bureau, if you stagger the reports and get a different one every 4 months, then you get almost year round monitoring for any strange or unauthorized activity.

Other sites (including the credit bureaus) may try to sell you additional services or may use your personal information to send you targeted advertisements.  You can use them but buyer beware.

And of course, there are commercial identity protection services you can subscribe to for a couple of years, I can't recommend any specific company over any other company.
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Level 20

If I lost an unsecured USB device containing my tax returns, in a public place, what should I do to protect my, and my spouse's, identities and security?

You may wish to put extra security on any bank accounts, etc.  Your return info may have bank account info so you may wish to notify your bank to see how they can tighten up your account with additional secret words/passwords, two-step verifcation, etc, or even change the account number if they think you should.
Level 20

If I lost an unsecured USB device containing my tax returns, in a public place, what should I do to protect my, and my spouse's, identities and security?

If the tax return contained direct deposit information (your bank account number and routing number, or the account number and routing number for a pre-paid debit card) you should contact the bank or card issuer to change the account number.  I don't know that you need to change other accounts that were not included.

Certainly, you can contact all your banks and credit cards and set up account alerts to text or send emails for certain actions (such as, card not present purchase, purchase over a certain $$ amount, foreign purchase, etc.).  Naturally you will get some alerts for your own activities like Amazon.com purchases and so on.
Level 20

If I lost an unsecured USB device containing my tax returns, in a public place, what should I do to protect my, and my spouse's, identities and security?

Some things you can do are:

Register for an account at social security for each person whose ssn was lost, to keep someone else from registering you.  Likewise register for accounts at the IRS web site.  

Lock or freeze your credit reports.  This will prevent anyone from opening accounts (including you, but you can temporarily unlock your reports to apply for new credit.  A “freeze” is a federally regulated procedure but the big 3 now allow you to do a “lock/unlock” for free, although they will try to sell you credit monitoring.  

See if any of your credit cards give you a credit score or credit reports as a card member benefit.  Consider signing up for a free credit monitoring service like Turbo or Credit Karma (they will use your info to market to you) or possibly enroll in a paid service that might not market to you.