The IRS’ Security Summit partners have urged tax professionals to learn the warning signs of data theft so they can react quickly to protect clients, as identity thieves continue to target the tax community.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry reminded tax professionals that they should contact the IRS immediately when there’s an identity theft issue, while also contacting insurance or cybersecurity experts to assist them with determining the cause and extent of the loss.
This year’s theme was ‘Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft’, and focused on urging tax professionals to try harder to secure their systems and protect client data during this pandemic and its aftermath.
This sixth summer-time Summit series highlighted the protections offered by multi-factor authentication and key security steps, the use of the Identity Protection PIN for clients, scams to steal unemployment benefits and the dangers of phishing email/text scams.
The IRS said that knowing the signs of identity theft is the final part of a five-part series sponsored by the Summit partners to highlight critical steps tax professionals can take to protect client data.
It added that one “common refrain” it hears from tax professionals reporting data thefts is that they did not immediately recognize its signs.
IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig said: “There are tell-tale signs of identity theft that tax pros can easily miss.
“Identity thieves continue to look for ways to slip into the systems of tax pros to steal data. We urge practitioners to take simple steps and remain on the lookout for signs of data and identity theft. They are a critical first line of defense against identity theft.”