Highlights from 2022 National Tax Security Awareness Week

IRS Tax Tip 2022-187, December 7, 2022

The IRS and its Security Summit partners recently held the annual National Tax Security Awareness Week.

The Security Summit is a longstanding partnership between the IRS, state tax administrators and the tax software and tax professional community. They work together to improve defenses and protect people from tax-related identity theft. The Summit partners also work to raise taxpayer and tax professional awareness about security issues – not only protecting people from the risk of identity theft but, helping protect the nation's tax system from refund-related fraud.

Here are some of the highlights from this year's Tax Security Awareness Week.

  • Stay safe online. The holiday season presents a prime opportunity for identity thieves to try stealing personal financial information, which also could be used to potentially file fraudulent tax returns. The Summit partners urged people to take extra care while shopping online or viewing emails and texts, especially during the holiday season when criminals are very active. Taxpayers should review these important online safety considerations.
  • Watch out for fake charities. Taxpayers should be on alert for scammers using fake charities to commit fraud not just during the holiday season but year-round. Scammers often take advantage of people's generosity by setting up fake charities to trick unsuspecting donors into giving away not only money, but also their sensitive personal information. Being alert to potential scams will not only shield a taxpayer's money but also help protect personal and financial data that scammers can use in tax-related identity theft. Taxpayers can visit IRS.gov for tips to help them make sure their money goes only to legitimate charities.
  • Tax pros should review security plans and checklists. The IRS and its Security Summit partners work to highlight data security and provide scam prevention tips. It is especially important for tax pros, including smaller practices, to protect themselves and safeguard client information. They can visit IRS.gov for tips or to review resources available to them including sample security plans and checklists.
  • Choosing a unique Identity Protection PIN provides extra safety for taxpayers. The IRS and its Security Summit partners remind taxpayers they can get extra protection starting in January by joining the agency's Identity Protection Personal Identification Number or IP PIN program. Anyone who has a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number and can verify their identity is eligible to enroll in the IP PIN program. The fastest and easiest way for taxpayers to receive an IP PIN is by using the Get an IP PIN tool, which will be available in January. In the meantime, taxpayers can visit IRS.gov to learn more about this valuable program.
  • Businesses should be on guard against cyberattacks. The IRS continues to see instances where small businesses and others face a variety of identity-theft related schemes trying to get information that can be used to file fake business tax returns. For example, phishing schemes continue to target businesses as well as tax professionals and individual taxpayers. Knowing some cybersecurity basics and putting them in practice will help business owners protect their business and reduce the risk of a cyberattack. Business owners can visit IRS.gov to learn more about the best practices in cyberattack prevention.

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