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How To Stay
Tax Season 2018
Tax Season is just around the
corner. You must be all set to
prepare tax returns, do a lot of
paperwork and deal with tax
issues that are going to arise.
It also means that you must be
ready for the security risks that
accompany tax season.
But most people ignore the
importance of staying secure
during the ‘busy season’.
Are you one of them?
And numbers don’t lie..
From late January to early
March 2017, the IRS identified
14,068 fraudulent returns
involving identity theft, which is
a most common tax scam.
And with more and more
people filing their returns
online, keeping tax returns
safe is a growing issue.
Keep these 5 tips in mind
that will help you stay safe
when you file your returns.
1. Understand the Risk
The first thing is to make sure you
understand the dangers to your
financial and personal data.
This data includes your Social
Security Numbers, your clients &
dependent's’ details, old W-2 income
and bank account information.
The loss of this data could lead to
identity theft and money loss.
Here Are Top Variations OF Tax Scams That
You Should Watch Out For:
1. Identity Theft: It occurs when someone uses your Social
Security Number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a
2. Phishing: It is an attempt to obtain sensitive information
such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details
by a fake email or malicious website.
3. Phone Scams: Cyber criminals impersonating IRS agent
can call you to steal your information.
4. Return Preparer Fraud: There are some dishonest tax
preparers who can hurt your business. So credentials of
the tax professional needs to be checked, rechecked.
5. Excessive Claims for Business Credits: Misuse of research
credit and fuel tax credit can lead to several penalties.
There are still dozens of tax scams. For the full list, read this
summary from IRS.
If you have retained your financial
information electronically on your
computer, you should always make
it secure using strong passwords,
two-factor authentication or an
You should also secure a backup for
this data to avoid the problems in
case your local system fails. Cloud
storage is one of the secure ways to
save your records.
2. Secure the Devices
You can enhance the security of
your device by using firewalls,
anti-spam/virus software and up-
to-date security patches in your
Never file electronically over
public Wi-Fi or unsecured public
Remember that the key piece of
information, a criminal wants is
your Social Security Number (SSN).
Along with your public information
such as your name, phone
number, address, and date of
birth, SSN number can help them
gain access to your financial
information, open new credit
accounts and even get a tax
refund by filing your returns.
3. Keep your Social Security Number
Follow These Tips To Keep Your SSN Secure:
1. Don’t carry your SSN card unless necessary.
2. Anything that lists your SSN should be kept in
3. Don’t share your SSN over phone or email to
someone you don’t know. Even IRS never
asks your SSN over the phone or email.
4. You should always use a secure electronic
medium to prevent hacking the SSN details.
You should always file early
because in case of duplicate
filing done by a criminal with the
same SSN will be rejected by IRS.
So even if the second filing is
legitimate, it has to go through a
verification process from IRS.
4. File Early
Prevention is better than cure.
You should have a clear
communication policy and
education program to ensure all
your team members or employees
to understand the importance of
security and dangers of phishing
and other threats.
The policy should cover safe
browsing, phone or laptop use,
email usage and personal storage.
5. Educate Your Team Members
And this should not be limited to
your employees. You should also
educate your clients.
CPAs should guide them about
the threat of identity theft and
other tax scams.
This can be done by sharing latest
news, security blogs, asking
questions and showing them IRS
1. Never respond to emails or phone calls claiming
from IRS. IRS doesn’t communicate people via
2. Never throw your tax papers and supporting
document in the trash. Burn them or store them in
a secure location.
3. Never use public networks or Wi-Fi to work on
4. Never hand over your personal information to
someone/tax preparer, you don’t properly know.
Research thoroughly about them.
5. Never choose a tax preparer who doesn’t have
their ‘Tax Preparer Identification Number’ given
6. Never download or click any link in emails from
any unverified sources that appear to be from
If Your Information has
The good news is that you can report to IRS
about the same.
Report tax frauds to IRS email account:
If you believe that someone has fraudulently
submitted a tax return or used your SSN, call
IRS at 800-908-4490.
Write Your ‘Happy’ Tax
Using these tips during tax season (and
throughout the year) will help you reduce
your chances of becoming a target of
And always remember, cyber criminals
depend on users to commit a mistake. Even
a small one.
So pay attention and stay safe!
Happy Tax Season 2018!
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Also Check Out Some of Other Slideshares.....
Tips to Keep Your Tax Records Secure – IRS
Tips for Protecting Your Identity This Tax Season – IRS
How to avoid getting scammed come tax time – CNBC
IRS Summarizes "Dirty Dozen" List of Tax Scams for 2017 – IRS
How to Stay Safe When Filing Your Taxes Online – Mashable
Tips for Keeping Online Tax Returns Safe From Thieves – US News
Tax Season Alert: Watch Out for These 3 Common Scams – Ace Cloud Hosting
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