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The Better Business Bureau Northwest, IRS and Other Organizations Join Forces to Highlight Information Security in Advance of Holidays, Filing Season

New IdentityTheft Scam

The Better Business Bureau Northwest and Internal Revenue Service, along with other national and statewide organizations, are partnering to encourage both individual and business taxpayers to take additional steps to protect their tax data and identities in advance of the holidays and the 2018 tax filing season.

“As you are doing your holiday shopping – whether you are at home on your laptop or using the wi-fi at the local mall – we urge you to take steps to protect your financial and tax data, and to be on the lookout for scammers,” said David Quinlan, BBB NW Vice President of Marketing.

“The information you share on these holiday transactions could be stolen and used by identity thieves to help them try filing a fraudulent tax return,” said David Tucker II, IRS spokesperson. “Recent data breaches may make this information even more appealing to cybercriminals. But we want to remind you there are some simple steps to help protect yourself.”

The Better Business Bureau Northwest and IRS are joining forces to announce National Tax Security Awareness Week. Starting Monday, Nov. 27, the event will focus daily on one issue that poses a threat to individuals and businesses, and offer steps they may take to better protect themselves from cybercriminals.

Nationally, the IRS and other partners will host more than two dozen press conferences and other events across the country to call attention to National Tax Security Awareness Week, now in its second year. This is especially timely as the holiday season brings out not only online shoppers but online thieves seeking to trick people into disclosing sensitive information that could be used to help file fraudulent tax returns.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, partners in the Security Summit, have enacted a series of defenses in recent years that have made significant inroads into tax-related identity theft. While the Summit partners continue to improve defenses, they also recognize that they need help from taxpayers, tax preparers and businesses to continue progress against identity theft.

During the upcoming 2018 filing season, the Better Business Bureau Northwest and IRS urge tax professionals, businesses and others to join with the Security Summit partners in sharing the security information through organizations, customers and partners.

During National Tax Security Awareness Week, people will learn about the basic steps necessary to protect themselves and their tax data online, such as using security software, strong passwords and data encryption. They will learn what steps they should take if they are a data breach victim, such as placing a freeze on their credit accounts and the signs of tax-related identity theft.

They will learn how cybercriminals use phishing emails to bait them into disclosing information. Employers will be warned about the dangerous W-2 scam that has made identity theft victims of thousands of employees. Finally, Summit partners will remind small businesses that they too are subject to identity theft and should take steps to protect themselves.

There are three key steps the Summit partners urge people to take to protect tax and financial information:

• Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening phone calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies and government organizations, including the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
• Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and will automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on computers. Use strong passwords.
• Protect personal data. Use strong, unique passwords for each online account.
Don’t routinely carry Social Security cards, and make sure tax records are secure. Treat personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry came together in 2015 to join forces in their fight against tax-related identity theft. Learn more about their efforts and their progress at Security Summit on IRS.gov. and about the “Taxes. Security. Together” awareness campaign to increase public awareness about people’s role in protecting their own data.



Source: on 2017-11-20 14:30:00

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