National Tax Security Awareness Week: Tips to Help Protect Taxpayers

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This National Tax Security Week, get a closer look at simple steps people can take to protect their sensitive tax and financial information and to prevent thieves from stealing their identity.

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By Michael Beebe
CL-21-30, November 29, 2021

As the holidays and the 2022 tax season approach, the combination creates a tempting opportunity for scam artists to steal taxpayer identities, personal information and money. But a few simple steps can help protect taxpayers and tax professionals - and prevent this from becoming the most wonderful time of the year for identity thieves. 

This week, the IRS and the Security Summit partners urge everyone to be extra careful with their personal and financial information while shopping this holiday season or making charitable donations online. And they should be extra careful if they get suspicious emails or texts. We don’t want innocent people getting scammed or having their identity stolen. 

To protect taxpayers, tax professionals, and business owners from identity theft and tax scams, the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry joined together in 2015 as partners in the Security Summit effort. This collaborative work has strengthened our defenses to protect against tax-related identity theft and has enabled us to share information and watch for trends as identity thieves and scam artists constantly adjust their tactics.

To make this effort even stronger, we need help from taxpayers, tax professionals and businesses. We have held National Tax Security Awareness Week for the past five years to raise awareness and share educational materials.

This year, the sixth annual event will be held from November 29 to December 3. During this special week, we’ll be providing information, tips and resources to help people keep their data and money safe now — and avoid problems during tax time. A special emphasis for this year will be tax security awareness for younger and older Americans, because even if someone doesn’t file a tax return, their online interactions can lead to scam artists obtaining sensitive information and using it to try to file a tax return and obtain a refund.

During this week, we’ll be sharing straightforward steps people can take to avoid becoming victims. And it’s important to note that tax professionals – who hold valuable tax information for their clients – have become an increasingly tempting target for scam artists. 

Through the Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC), we continue to see evolving threats and scams that can mimic IRS and others in the tax community with fake emails, texts and online scams. These schemes might lurk within messages related to COVID, stimulus payments or tax refunds, and they can frequently take advantage of recent tragedies or charitable groups to coax people into sharing sensitive financial data.

Here’s a preview of what you can expect to see during National Tax Security Awareness Week. We urge everyone to be aware of these steps:

Day 1 - Cyber Monday Tips: How to protect personal and financial information online by using strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, effectively spotting phishing and tax scams, and updating computer security software programs.

Day 2 - Giving Tuesday: Learn how scammers use fake charities to steal money and find out how to check if a charity is legitimate by using a special IRS tool: the Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool.

Day 3 – Get an IRS Identity Protection PIN: Taxpayers will learn how to verify their identities online and opt into the IRS IP PIN program to protect themselves and their tax refund.

Day 4 – Using Digital Signatures and Security Tips for Tax Professionals: Learn how to use digital signatures to submit IRS forms and check account details on a secure portal. And tax professionals will receive information about reviewing their security protocolsPDF and the “Taxes-Security-Together” checklist.

Day 5 – Small Business Security Safeguards: Most cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. We’ll be sharing information to help small businesses strengthen their security practices.

We encourage people and organizations to visit or follow our social media channels to receive information every day during National Tax Security Awareness Week. On social media, be sure to follow @IRSnews on Twitter or our Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well as the #TaxSecurity hashtag for informative daily posts with tips, videos and flyers that can be shared.

Keeping personal and financial information safe is a shared responsibility. People can take simple steps to protect their sensitive tax and financial information. At the same time, those efforts help the IRS, the states and our private-sector Security Summit partners further strengthen our increased efforts to prevent thieves from ruining people’s holiday season - and delaying tax refunds in 2022.

Michael Beebe
Director, Return Integrity & Compliance Services

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Security Measures Help Protect Against Tax-Related Identity Theft 





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