Taxes-Security-Together Checklist – Step 2: Written Data Security Plan

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Security, Security Summit

'Taxes-Security-Together' Checklist - Step 2: Tax Professionals Reminded

Taxes-Security-Together Checklist – Step 2: Written Data Security Plan The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry today reminded all “professional tax preparers” that federal law requires them to create a written information security plan to protect their clients’ data. The reminder came as the IRS and its Security Summit partners urged tax professionals to take time this summer to review their data security protections. To help them in this complex area, the Summit created a special “Taxes-Security-Together” Checklist as a starting point. “Protecting taxpayer data is not only a good business practice, it’s the law for professional tax preparers,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Creating and putting into action a written data security plan is critical to protecting your clients and protecting your business.” Creating a data security plan is the second item on the “Taxes-Security-Together” Checklist. The first step for tax professionals involved deploying the “Security Six” basic steps to protect computers and email. Although the Security Summit — a partnership between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax community — is making major progress against tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals continue to evolve, and data thefts at tax professionals’ offices remain a major threat. Thieves use … Read More

TAX SECURITY 101: TAX PROFESSIONALS MUST MAINTAIN, PROTECT EFINS; MONITOR EFINS, PTINS AND CAF NUMBERS

NSTPElectronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN), Fraud, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), Security, Security Summit, Uncategorized

The Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners warned tax professionals that savvy cybercriminals target IRS-issued identification numbers to help impersonate practitioners as well as taxpayers.

TAX SECURITY 101 – TAX PROFESSIONALS VICTIMIZED BY DATA THEFTS OFFER HARD-WON SECURITY LESSONS TO COLLEAGUES:

NSTPData Theft, Security Summit, Uncategorized

As cybercriminals continue to increasingly pursue tax professionals’ data, the Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners today released lessons learned by victims in the tax community to help others avoid being targeted by identity thieves.

IRS, Summit Partners warn on tax deadline scams, ‘IRS Refunds’ email

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Security Summit

With the April 17 tax deadline approaching, the Internal Revenue Service and Security Summit partners urge taxpayers and tax professionals to be alert to identity theft scams, especially a new email version currently pretending to be from “IRS Refunds.” The “IRS Refunds” scam is a common tactic used by cybercriminals to trick people into opening a link or attachment associated with the email. This link takes people to a fake page where thieves try to steal personally identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers. Often these links or attachments also secretly download malware that can perform many functions, such as giving the thief control of the computer or tracking keystrokes to determine other sensitive passwords or critical data. The IRS does not randomly contact taxpayers or tax professionals via email, including asking people to confirm their tax refund information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part … Read More

SECURITY SUMMIT PARTNERS MARK PROGRESS IN IDENTITY THEFT BATTLE; PREPARE FOR 2018 TAX SEASON

NSTPIdentity Theft, Security Summit

The IRS, state tax agencies and private-sector industry leaders have detailed their continued progress against tax-related identity theft and prepared additional safeguards for the 2018 filing season to curb refund fraud. The latest IRS data continued to show significant improvements as fewer identity theft returns entered the tax system, fewer fraudulent refunds were issued and fewer taxpayers were reporting themselves as victims of identity theft. “We’ve made tremendous progress since the Security Summit partnership held its first session in 2015,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We’ve seen the number of identity theft-related tax returns fall by about two-thirds since 2015. This dramatic decline helped prevent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers from facing the challenges of dealing with identity theft issues. This reflects the unique collaboration between the tax industry, the states and the IRS. But we have much more work facing us. As we evolve, so do the cybercriminals here and abroad. We must constantly be on guard.” “The collaborative work of the Summit is helping states, industry and the IRS identify fraudulent schemes and tax returns earlier,” said Courtney M. Kay-Decker, director of the Iowa Department of Revenue and a representative of the Federation of Tax Administrators. “These efforts … Read More

THE IRS SECURITY SUMMIT WARNS OF NEW PHISHING EMAIL TARGETING TAX PROS

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Phishing, Security Summit

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry warned tax professionals to beware of phishing emails purporting to be from a tax software education provider and seeking extensive amounts of sensitive preparer data. The email’s origin is unknown but likely issued by cybercriminals who could be operating from the U.S. or abroad. The email is unusual for the amount of sensitive preparer data that it seeks. This preparer information will enable the thieves to steal client data and file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS reminds all tax professionals that legitimate businesses and organizations never ask for usernames, passwords, or sensitive data via email. Nor should a preparer ever provide such sensitive information via email if asked. All tax professionals should be aware that their e-Services credentials, the Electronic Filing Information Number (EFIN), the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and their Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number are extremely valuable to identity thieves. Anyone handling taxpayer information has a legal obligation to protect that data. Because the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, acting in partnership as the Security Summit, are making inroads on individual tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals increasingly target tax professionals. Thieves are looking for real client … Read More