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IDENTITY THEFT – Excellent IRS and FTC resources SEP-2018

Some excellent resources in case IDENTITY THEFT issues are discovered

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/data-theft-information-for-tax-professionals

https://www.identitytheft.gov/Steps

https://identitytheft.gov/

https://www.ftc.gov/ 

All tax professionals should be aware that they, too, are targets of cybercriminals seeking access to client data in order to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds. Are you prepared? Protect your clients and protect yourself by taking a few critical steps.

The IRS recommends tax professionals use Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, as a guide for conducting a review of your current security measures and to create or update your security plan. It is critical you assess your current security precautions and address any weaknesses.  The IRS also recommends tax professionals create an action plan to outline the steps you would take in the event of a data theft. This will save valuable time should the worst occur.

The “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” campaign to raise awareness among tax professionals is an initiative of the Security Summit, a joint project by the IRS, states and the tax community to combat identity theft. Because of the sensitive client data held by tax professionals, cybercriminals increasingly are targeting the tax preparation community. All tax professionals must take appropriate steps to protect their clients’ data and protect their businesses.

IMPORTANT: Always use robust security software for all computers and devices, and routinely perform deep scans often to identify any malware/virus infections. Use strong password to access computers and client files. Learn to recognize and avoid phishing email schemes.  Should you experience a data compromise – whether by cybercriminals, theft or accident – there are certain basic steps you should take. For a comprehensive list of security actions, consult a security professional.

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