WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry today announced that the 4th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week will take place between Dec. 2 and Dec. 6.
Security Summit partners will once again urge taxpayers, businesses and tax professionals to enhance their online security as the holiday shopping season kicks off and identity thieves step up their efforts to steal personal and financial data.
“While people are shopping online, identity thieves are trying to shoplift their sensitive information. As the holiday season and tax season approach, everyone should remember to take basic steps to protect themselves,” said Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner. “The Security Summit has made progress in fighting back against tax-related identity theft, but we need people to watch out for common scams that can put their financial and tax data at risk.”
Tax Security Awareness Week will feature a week-long series of educational materials to help protect taxpayers and tax pros against identity theft. The effort will include a special social media effort on Twitter and Instagram with @IRSnews and #TaxSecurity, including a Twitter chat on Dec. 5. Summit partners plan a series of more than 25 events across the country in conjunction with Tax Security Awareness Week.
Also new is a special partner toolkit that features ready-to-use communication products that organizations and stakeholders can use to help raise awareness among clients, customers and employees. The toolkit offers information to share, including drop-in articles and email content for sharing and social media posts. It can be used both during the awareness week and during the 2020 filing season.
As part of the effort, the IRS and Summit partners created new YouTube videos on security steps for taxpayers. The videos can be viewed or downloaded at Easy Steps to Protect Your Computer and Phone and Avoid Phishing Emails.
The IRS also updated Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers, which businesses can share with their employees and customers while tax professionals can share with clients.
December’s National Tax Security Awareness Week features five days of basic security guidance for those most at-risk: individual taxpayers, business taxpayers and tax professionals. Highlights include:
Day 1: Protect personal and financial information online
The IRS and Security Summit remind people to take these basic steps:
Day 2: Learn to recognize phishing emails and phone scams
Know that email scams often:
Watch out for scam phone calls, too. Remember:
Day 3 – Create strong passwords to protect online accounts
The password standards have changed. Here are some simple guidelines:
Day 4 – Recognize clues of identity theft
A business taxpayer may be an identity theft victim if:
Day 5 – Tax professionals should review their safeguards
The IRS and the Summit partners urge tax pros to review the Taxes-Security-Together Checklist, including:
Deploy basic security measures.