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Irs, Security Summit Partners Launch New Awareness Campaign

The campaign is especially timely as the holiday season brings out online shoppers sharing sensitive financial data as well as online thieves seeking to con people into disclosing information that can be used to file fraudulent tax returns. The Federal Trade Commission administers this law and its “Safeguards Rule” regulations. The campaign will highlight simple steps taxpayers can take such as using strong security software and strong passwords. It will highlight common tactics used by identity thieves to target taxpayers, businesses and tax professionals. It will also focus on specific threats to businesses and to tax professionals, both of whom are increasingly targeted by crooks. The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals of the continuing threat from cybercriminals and launched a series of security tips to encouraging stronger measures to protect taxpayer data.

Irs, Security Summit Partners Launch New Awareness Campaign

Storing a copy offsite or in the cloud is a recommended best practice in the event of a natural disaster. The Summit team worked to make this document as easy to use as possible, including special sections to help tax professionals get to the information they need. Tax professionals can review additional tips to protect clients and themselves at the Security Summit’s awareness campaign, Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself, on IRS.gov. Summit partners Irs, Security Summit Partners Launch New Awareness Campaign launched a “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign to increase public awareness about the need for computer security and to provide people with tips on how to protect their personal information. The IRS has provided over 30 security awareness tax tips all linked from one page. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure. Treat your personal information like you do your cash; don’t leave it lying around.

“My best business intelligence, in one easy email…”

Even when tax pros think they have client data stored in a secure cloud, lack of strong authentication can make this information vulnerable. This effort begins next week with the Security Summit’s annual summer campaign focused on tax professionals and taking fundamental steps to stop data theft from their offices.

Irs, Security Summit Partners Launch New Awareness Campaign

Using a phone call, text message or tokens, they can avoid potential vulnerabilities that emerge when authentication is done just through email, which is easier for identity thieves to access. Tax professionals are prime targets of criminal syndicates that are both tech- and tax-savvy and well-funded. These scammers either trick or hack their way into tax professionals’ computer systems to access client data.

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Another emerging scheme the IRS has seen involves weak security from tax professionals using cloud-based systems to store client data. While many cloud-based systems are secure, tax pros who rely on them should ensure they’re using strong multifactor authentication to avoid letting cyberthieves access their sensitive information. https://turbo-tax.org/ “Tax professionals play a critical role in our nation’s tax system,” said Carol Campbell, director of the IRS Return Preparer Office and co-lead of the Summit tax professional group. During the online holiday shopping season, Security Summit partners are reminding people to be vigilant with their personal information.

  • The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, the Internal Revenue Service, tax agencies from other states, and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating software providers.
  • Data security will be featured prominently at all five Tax Forums, including a workshop by cyber experts.
  • While Summit partners continue to improve defenses, they also recognize that they need help from taxpayers, tax preparers and businesses to continue progress against identity theft.
  • One interesting observation is that Publication 4557 no longer advises that passwords be changed regularly, and the same admonishment is missing from the news release.

The series of security awareness tips focus on security measures tax professionals should take to better protect taxpayer data and to guard against the ever-evolving nature of identity theft and refund fraud. Federal law requires all professional tax preparers to create and implement a data security plan. The Security Summit group – a public-private partnership between the IRS, states and the nation’s tax industry – has noticed that some tax professionals continue to struggle with developing a written security plan. The thieves then called the taxpayers, trying to trick them into returning the fraudulent refunds. In some cases, the thieves had stolen so much information, they could access the clients’ bank accounts online and steal the fraudulent refunds. In many cases, the tax professionals never even knew their client data was stolen.

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Beware of purchases at unfamiliar sites or clicks on links from pop-up ads. Back up sensitive data to a safe and secure external source not connected fulltime to a network. If a user or application submits more than 10 requests per second, further requests from the IP address may be limited for a brief period. Once the rate of requests has dropped below the threshold for 10 minutes, the user may resume accessing content on SEC.gov. This SEC practice is designed to limit excessive automated searches on SEC.gov and is not intended or expected to impact individuals browsing the SEC.gov website.

Irs, Security Summit Partners Launch New Awareness Campaign

Keep anti-virus software automatically updated to prevent scams that target software vulnerabilities. Preparers should sign up for e-News for Tax Professionals, the IRS Tax Pro Twitter Account and the Return Preparer Office’s Facebook page to stay informed about this campaign and about scams and schemes in general. The IRS also is creating a Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself page on IRS.gov. Balance due or other notices from the IRS that are not correct based on return filed or if a return had not been filed.

IRS Updates Data Security Guidance for Tax Professionals

Some financial institutions, email providers and social media sites allow users to set accounts for multi-factor authentication. This means users may need a security code, usually sent as a text to a mobile phone, in addition to usernames and passwords. This week, the IRS, the states and the tax community are sending out a series of reminders to taxpayers and tax professionals during “National Tax Security Awareness Week,” as part of the ongoing Security Summit effort. The tax community and Taxpayers continue to be targets for cybercriminals. Tax Professionals may be jeopardizing data loss for their clients and their businesses. Taxpayers ought to ask Tax Preparers what safeguards they have implemented in their practices – no matter the size of the size of the business. Tax Professionals ought to practice “safe cyber etiquette”.

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