Special to the News Messenger
DALLAS — With the approach of the holidays and the upcoming tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry will again sponsor a nationwide campaign December 2-6 urging people to better protect their sensitive tax and financial data.
The initiative will highlight simple steps taxpayers can take such as using antivirus software and strong passwords — point out common tactics used by identity thieves to target taxpayers, businesses and tax professionals. It will also focus on specific threats to businesses and to tax professionals, both of whom are increasingly plagued by crooks.
Clay Sanford, an IRS spokesman, said one of the most common ways thieves steal your personal or work information is by simply asking for it. “They go to great lengths to appear as a trusted company—maybe your bank or your favorite online retailer,” Sanford warned. “Be sure to examine emails carefully, and if you get these types of ‘phishing’ emails on your phones or computers, just delete them.”
Since forming the Security Summit partnership in 2015, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry have made significant inroads into tax-related identity theft. Learn more about their efforts and their progress at IRS.gov. While the Summit partners continue to improve their internal defenses, more help is needed from taxpayers, businesses and tax professionals to better protect the data that identity thieves need to file fraudulent tax returns.
Increasing public awareness about people’s role in protecting their own data is a critical part of the Security Summit efforts. Partners launched the “Taxes. Security. Together” awareness campaign in the fall of 2015. Tax professionals can also keep track of alerts, awareness efforts and security news at “Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself” on IRS.gov.