How can I protect the tax files on my computer?
Protect the sensitive information in your tax data files and tax-related PDF files with the following (the more, the merrier):
- (Windows XP) Upgrade to Vista or higher, as Microsoft has stopped patching XP. More info
- Download and install the latest updates for Windows or Mac;
- Keep your firewall on at all times;
- Install and run virus- and spyware-protection software (and make sure to keep it updated);
- Store your files in a folder where they cannot be shared;
- Password-protect your tax file;
- Use PDF encryption software to protect PDF copies of your return;
- Last but not least, never email your tax or PDF files.
Another option is to move your tax and tax-related PDF files off your computer and onto a storage device which you can then store in a secure location.