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Tax Preparers, States Join IRS in Warning of Data Theft Risk

The tax preparation community has joined forces with state tax agencies and the Internal Revenue Service to warn tax preparers that they are the newest targets of identity thieves and other cybercriminals. It’s time, they say, to take steps to protect their clients from data theft.

The effort is an offshoot of the recent IRS Security Summit’s “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign, which attempts to increase public awareness of heightened computer security in the industry – using security software, stronger passwords, and avoiding phishing emails.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the hackers are turning their attention toward tax preparers and precautions must be taken to preserve –and improve - their security.

“We have more than 700,000 tax preparers in this country, with many of those taking good security precautions,” Koskinen said. “But cyber criminals are continuing to evolve, using new technology, ruses and scams.”

“The tax community handles large volumes of sensitive personal and financial information. We need every tax professional to stay on top of their security to protect taxpayers, as well as their businesses.”

For more information, download the IRS Fact Sheet 2016-23, Tax Professionals: Protect your Clients; Protect Yourself from Identity Theft; or check out the Return Preparer Office Facebook page. Also, download the IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, for more details.

Bob Williams

Forget genes; I’ve got words in my DNA. Communication has been part of who I am nearly all my life. From a long career in radio news to another one in newspapers – and a University of Georgia journalism degree sandwiched between the two – language has been my life. I’ve also been fortunate to have learned the tax business from the ground up here at Drake, starting with 1040.com online forms some years ago before moving on to work on the Web. In all things tax-ish, we aim to give you tools you can use.

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