Protecting your identity at tax time

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As tax season is in full force, most people make an extra copy of a tax return or fax personal information. Copy professionals want to warn consumers of possible identity theft.

An FBI investigation revealed more than $150 million worth of losses after personal information was stolen off multipurpose copiers nationwide.

Copy professionals say even though stealing data is a complicated process, it's a risk everyone should know.

Most multipurpose copier machines that scan, print, fax, and copy have a hard drive built into the machine for digital archiving, but someone with computer knowledge could hack into the hard drive and steal documents containing personal data.

The federal government found the average cost of a successful attack is $650,000, so they put voluntary security standards in place and companies installed devices in the machines to erase data after a certain period of time or on demand.

But not all multipurpose machines are using the security technology.

Karla Metzler of Metro Centre, a Xerox dealer, says to ask a store manager or the IT person at your business if there are security devices installed on the machine you plan to use.

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