We need your help.
The IRS, the states and the tax industry came together in 2015 to identify even more safeguards to protect your federal and state tax accounts from identity thieves.
Many of these steps are invisible to you but will help us verify the identity of the taxpayer and the validity of the tax return. There are new password standards for tax software. We’re doing a better job sharing information about identity theft schemes. (See Fact Sheet 2015-23 for details on our efforts.)
In recent years, we’ve also helped convict nearly 2,000 identity thieves thanks to our Criminal Investigation division and we have 1,700 open investigations.
All this means the IRS, states and the tax industry have formed an even stronger partnership in face of a constantly evolving enemy – the identity thief.
We are asking you to join with us. We have launched an awareness campaign in an effort to better inform you about the need to protect your personal, tax and financial data online and at home. People continue to fall prey to clever cybercriminals who trick them into giving up Social Security numbers, account numbers or password information. In turn, criminals use this information a variety of ways, including filing fraudulent tax returns.
How taxpayers can help
We’ve listed a few common sense suggestions that can make a big difference. See Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers, and Security Awareness Tax Tips for details.
A few highlights:
- Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records you store on your computer. Use strong passwords.
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card company and even the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
- Protect your personal data. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure. Treat your personal information like you do your cash; don’t leave it lying around.