Due to the sensitive client data held by tax professionals, cybercriminals increasingly target the tax preparation community. Thieves use a variety of tactics, from remote computer takeovers to phishing scams.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry ask for your help to combat identity theft and fraudulent returns. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference. That’s why we launched a public awareness campaign that we call, “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself.”
Identity thieves are a formidable enemy. Data breaches are increasing in number and scope. Thieves often use the stolen identity information to file tax returns. As a tax preparer, you play a critical role in protecting taxpayer data.
Most tax professional’s software includes security protections. You should take other defensive moves as well.
Here are a few critical steps:
See Fact Sheet 2016-23 for additional tips.
Also, learn to recognize phishing attempts that mimic tax software providers or the IRS. A number of current scams pose as IRS e-services or other entities to trick you into clicking on malicious links or downloading malicious attachments. These phishing scams may attempt to steal your usernames and passwords for critical accounts. Or, they may secretly install software that will track your every key stroke.
The IRS and its partners have issued numerous alerts and warnings to the tax professional community this year on emerging phishing scams specifically targeting you and your colleagues.
When in doubt about any communication purporting to be from the IRS or a tax software provider, go to their main web page instead of clicking on any links.
Share this tip on social media — #IRStaxtip: #Tax Professionals: Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself. http://go.usa.gov/x8Pk9 #IRS