Aug 1, 2017
As the IRS, States and tax industry have begun to make inroads into tax related identity theft, criminals realize that they need more and better information to file fraudulent federal and state income tax returns. It is important for tax preparers to realize that since they have critical tax return information and financial data stored on their computer systems the identity thieves have begun to increasingly target tax preparers in an effort to access their computer systems.
Fraudsters are accomplishing this by utilizing phishing email schemes that are targeted at tax preparers. Once an identity thief gains access to a tax preparer’s computer system they have access to multiple years of their client’s tax return information and can use the preparer’s tax software to file fraudulent returns.
In their continuing effort to fight tax identity theft and to educate tax preparers, the Security Summit (IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry) has created another series in the IRS Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself campaign. The name of this new campaign is "Don’t Take the Bait" which is designed to educate tax preparers on what steps they need to take to protect their clients information and their business from various types of phishing email schemes. The IRS is also reminding tax preparers that they have a legal requirement under federal law to protect taxpayer information.
The “Don’t Take the Bait” series will cover spearing phishing emails, business identity theft, account takeovers, ransomware attacks, remote takeovers, business email compromises and EFIN thefts. It also, will offer tips recommended by the IRS, the FBI and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), which sets cybersecurity guidelines that government agencies such as the IRS must follow.
This series will last 10 weeks from July 11 through September 12. As of July 25 the series has posted to the IRS website on their Latest News page and on the Don’t Take the Bait page information on the following:
For additional information on how tax preparers can protect themselves see the following: