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YouTube Video Text Script - Why Tax Professionals Need a Security Plan

ACTING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH STATE TAX AGENCIES AND THE TAX INDUSTRY… THE IRS IS MAKING PROGRESS AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT.

BUT IDENTITY THIEVES… MANY OF THEM ORGANIZED SYNDICATES HERE AND ABROAD… ARE DOUBLING THEIR EFFORTS.

INCREASINGLY… THEIR FOCUS IS ON TAX PROFESSIONALS AND THEIR CLIENT DATA.

TO COMBAT THIS EMERGING THREAT… THE IRS SECURITY SUMMIT LAUNCHED THE “PROTECT YOUR CLIENTS… PROTECT YOURSELF” CAMPAIGN TO RAISE AWARENESS AMONG TAX PROFESSIONALS.

(Chief J. Don Fort, IRS Criminal Investigation)

WE SEE FIRST-HAND THE DEVASTATING EFFECT DATA COMPROMISES HAVE ON TAX PRACTITIONERS.

THESE DAYS… AN IDENTITY THIEF’S TOOLS OF CHOICE ARE THE INTERNET AND DARK WEB.

TO COMMIT STOLEN IDENTITY REFUND FRAUD… IDENTITY THIEVES USE THE DARK WEB… AN UNDERGROUND INTERNET NETWORK… TO EXCHANGE IDEAS AND TO BUY AND SELL PERSONAL INFORMATION.

ONE OF THE COMMON TOOLS USED BY IDENTITY THEIVES IS THE PHISHING EMAIL.

A PHISHING EMAIL CAN INCLUDE LINKS THAT APPEAR TO CONNECT TO PROGRAMS OR VENDORS A TAX PROFESSIONAL MAY LEGITIMATELY USE.

IN FACT… THE LINKS LEAD TO A WEBSITE DESIGNED TO STEAL YOUR DATA.

SOMETIMES MALICIOUS SITES CONTAIN HIDDEN SOFTWARE THAT DOWNLOADS ONTO YOUR COMPUTER WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE.

RECENTLY… WE’VE SEEN IDENTITY THIEVES GAIN ACCESS TO TAX PROFESSIONALS' COMPUTER SYSTEMS USING REMOTE ACCESS SOFTWARE.

ONCE THE THIEVES GAIN ACCESS… THEY CAN STEAL HISTORICAL TAX RETURN DATA AND USE IT TO PREPARE FRAUDULENT RETURNS.

OR THEY CAN ACCESS RETURNS CURRENTLY IN PROCESS AND FILE THEM USING YOUR SOFTWARE.

OF COURSE… THEY DIRECT REFUNDS TO A BANK ACCOUNT THEY CONTROL.

(Special Agent Chris Janczewski)

HERE’S A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE.

IN 2013… CONCERNED CLIENTS CONTACTED THEIR CPA FIRM TO REPORT RECEIVING AUDIT LETTERS FROM THE IRS.

BUT THE CPA FIRM HAD NOT YET FILED THEIR CLIENTS’ 2012 RETURNS.

THE FIRM DISCOVERED THEIR COMPUTER SYSTEM HAD BEEN BREACHED WHEN THEY FOUND CLIENT FILES WERE BACKED UP OVERNIGHT TO AN UNKNOWN SOURCE.
 
SPECIAL AGENTS WITH IRS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND THE US SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATED.
 
WE FOUND THAT A CYBER THIEF HAD USED REMOTE ACCESS SOFTWARE TO BREACH THE CPA’S SERVER.

THE THIEVES USED ADDITIONAL TOOLS TO CRACK THE PASSWORD PROTECTION.
  
THEN, APPROXIMATELY 425 FRAUDULENT TAX RETURNS WERE FILED USING THE STOLEN CLIENT DATA.
     
ADDRESSING THE BREACH HAS INVOLVED THOUSANDS OF HOURS WORKING WITH CLIENTS TO CORRECT THEIR TAX FILINGS.

(Carol Campbell, Director, Return Preparer Office)

MANY THINK THIS CAN’T HAPPEN TO THEM.

WE CAN TELL YOU FROM EXPERIENCE THAT IT CAN AND IT DOES.

THERE ARE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT AGAINST DATA THEFT.

REVIEW PUBLICATION 4557… “SAFEGUARDING TAXPAYER DATA.”

IT’S A CHECKLIST ON THE STEPS YOU NEED TO TAKE TO CREATE A SECURITY PLAN TO PROTECT YOUR CLIENTS AND YOUR BUSINESS.

EDUCATE YOURSELF AND YOUR EMPLOYEES ON THESE SECURITY MEASURES.

BOOKMARK THE “PROTECT YOUR CLIENTS… PROTECT YOURSELF” CAMPAIGN ON IRS.GOV.

YOU CAN ACCESS FACT SHEETS AND TIPS ON SECURITY… SCAM ALERTS… AND IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION MEASURES SPECIFICALLY FOR TAX PROFESSIONALS.

FINALLY… IF YOU DO EXPERIENCE A BREACH… CONTACT THE IRS.

SEE “DATA THEFT INFORMATION FOR TAX PROFESSIONALS” ON IRS.GOV FOR THE STEPS YOU NEED TO TAKE.

(Narrator)

TO GET STARTED… GO TO I-R-S-DOT-GOV SLASH PROTECT YOUR CLIENTS.