Kicking off a special week, the Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners today warned taxpayers and tax professionals to beware of a dangerous combination of events that can increase their exposure to tax scams or identity theft.
The combination of the holiday shopping season, the upcoming tax season and the pandemic create additional opportunities for criminals to steal sensitive personal or finance information. People should take extra care while shopping online or viewing emails and texts.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry – working together as the Security Summit – mark today’s start of the 6th annual National Tax Security Awareness Week with tips on basic safeguards everyone should take. These can help protect against identity theft as well as help safeguard sensitive tax information that criminals can use to try filing fake tax returns and obtaining refunds.
“Don’t let this be the most wonderful time of the year for identity thieves,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The approach of the holidays and tax season increases risk for taxpayers and opportunities for criminals. We urge people to be extra careful with their personal and financial information during this period while shopping online or getting suspicious emails or text. Taking a few simple steps can keep people from becoming victims of identity theft and protect their sensitive personal information needed for tax returns and refunds.”
Since 2015, the IRS and Security Summit partners have taken important steps to protect taxpayers and the nation’s tax professionals from tax-related identity theft. But progress in this area led identity thieves to evolve their tactics, trying to obtain sensitive information from taxpayers and tax professionals to help prepare fraudulent tax returns. Taxpayers can help in this fight by protecting their financial and tax information. Summit partners continue to highlight safety steps in the “Taxes.Security.Together” effort.
As part of that effort, National Tax Security Awareness Week is designed to help share information with taxpayers and tax professionals during this critical period. The special week includes special informational graphics and social media efforts on platforms including Twitter and Instagram through @IRSnews and #TaxSecurity.
A special emphasis for this year on social media will be focusing tax security awareness on younger and older Americans. 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 obtaining a refund.