2021 IRS Tax Identity Theft Campaign and Tax Preparers
By Mark Castro, CPA
August 26, 2021
IRS Tax Industry Security Summit
Continuing what the IRS, tax industry, and State tax agencies started back in 2015
, the Security Summit
partners have created a 2021 campaign to urge tax preparers to take basic actions to help stop theft of their own personal data and their clients’ tax data from their offices.
Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft Campaign
The “Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft” comes as the number of data thefts reported by tax preparers to the IRS continues to climb. Through the end of June 2021, there have been 222 data theft reports to the IRS from tax preparers. This is in comparison to 211 in 2020 and 124 in 2019.
What is the purpose of the “Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft” campaign?
This campaign offers information to tax preparers to help them protect themselves. It covers the following:
- Use of multi-factor authentication
- Signing up tax preparer clients for an Identity Protection PIN
- How to avoid new spear phishing scams
- Recognizing the signs of identity theft
- Helping tax preparer clients fight unemployment compensation fraud
Who is a target of Tax Identity Theft?
Tax preparers are key targets of criminal syndicates that are tech-savvy, tax-savvy, and well-funded. These scammers either trick or hack their way into tax preparers’ computer systems to access client data. They use stolen data to file fraudulent tax returns that make it more difficult for the IRS and the states to detect because the fraudulent returns use real financial information.
How can tax preparers protect themselves from tax identity theft?
It is important that tax preparers take steps to protect their computer systems from identity thieves. The 2021 IRS “Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft” and visiting other IRS pages on the IRS website related to security and identity theft will help tax preparers protect themselves and their clients’ information from identity thieves.
Tax Identity Theft Resources
For more information, see the following articles on the IRS website: