What to Do After a Tax Professional Data Compromise

What to Do After a Tax Professional Data Compromise


WHEN A TAX PROFESSIONAL’S
COMPUTER IS HACKED, IT CREATES A SIGNIFICANT THREAT
TO THEIR CLIENTS, THE PRACTITIONER’S LIVELIHOOD
AND THE US TAX SYSTEM. IF YOUR SYSTEM HAS BEEN HACKED,
WHAT DO YOU DO? REPORTING DATA COMPROMISES IMMEDIATELY
AND WORKING WITH THE IRS IS CRITICAL TO MINIMIZING
THE IMPACT OF THIS CRIME. CONTACT THE IRS IMMEDIATELY TO PREVENT
LOSSES AND PROTECT YOUR CLIENTS. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL
IRS STAKEHOLDER LIAISON. THEY CAN BE FOUND
BY GOING TO IRS.GOV AND TYPING “STAKEHOLDER LIAISON”
IN THE SEARCH FIELD. THEY’LL PROVIDE GUIDANCE AND OBTAIN
THE INFORMATION THAT THE IRS NEEDS TO PROTECT YOU
AND YOUR CLIENTS. WHEN THE IRS IS INFORMED
OF A DATA COMPROMISE, NO MATTER HOW LARGE OR SMALL,
A SPECIALLY TRAINED UNIT TAKES IMMEDIATE STEPS TO MITIGATE THE
HARM BY SCREENING ANY TAX RETURNS LINKED TO THE COMPROMISED DATA. YOU SHOULD ALSO CONTACT
YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT TO FORMALLY DOCUMENT THE THEFT
IN A POLICE REPORT. IN ADDITION, IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY
YOUR STATE TAXATION AUTHORITY BY SENDING AN EMAIL TO [email protected] YOU SHOULD ALSO NOTIFY
YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER, AND A TRUSTED I.T.
SECURITY PROFESSIONAL. NOW, ALL THESE STEPS
CAN BE FOUND ON OUR “DATA THEFT INFORMATION
FOR TAX PROFESSIONALS” PAGE. JUST GO TO IRS.GOV AND TYPE
“DATA THEFT” IN THE SEARCH FIELD. IN ADDITION, THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
HAS AN EXCELLENT DATA BREACH RESPONSE GUIDE
FOR BUSINESSES AND THE FBI OVERSEES THE INTERNET
CRIME COMPLAINT CENTER, OR IC3. THE IRS CONSIDERS THE THEFT
OF CLIENT INFORMATION FROM A TAX PROFESSIONAL
AS A VERY SERIOUS CRIME. THIS INFORMATION IS INCREDIBLY VALUABLE
TO A FRAUDSTER, BECAUSE IT CAN BE USED TO GENERATE
A FRAUDULENT RETURN THAT MIRRORS A VICTIM’S
ACTUAL RETURN. WE SOMETIMES SEE THAT THE
ONLY CHANGE ON THE TAX RETURN IS THE BANK ROUTING NUMBER,
WITH THE REFUND REDIRECTED STRAIGHT INTO THE THIEF’S
BANK ACCOUNT. EVERY DAY OF THE TAX FILING SEASON,
WE SCREEN THOUSANDS OF TAX RETURNS TO IDENTIFY ANOMALIES AND STOP
FRAUDULENT REFUNDS FROM BEING ISSUED. WHENEVER WE IDENTIFY
A POTENTIALLY FRAUDULENT RETURN, WE CORRESPOND WITH THE
TAXPAYER TO DETERMINE IF THE TAX RETURN FILED
IS ACTUALLY THEIRS. THIS CORRESPONDENCE INCLUDES
DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO CONTACT THE IRS
AND STEPS TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE. SOMETIMES, RECEIPT OF THIS
CORRESPONDENCE IS THE FIRST TIME THE “REAL” TAXPAYER FINDS OUT THAT THEY
HAVE BECOME A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT. IT IS CRITICAL THAT A TAXPAYER
RESPOND TO US IMMEDIATELY, WHICH ENHANCES OUR ABILITY
TO STOP THE FRAUDULENT REFUND AND EFFICIENTLY
RESOLVE THE TAXPAYER’S ACCOUNT. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU BOOKMARK
“PROTECT YOUR CLIENTS; PROTECT YOURSELF” AT IRS.GOV TO STAY INFORMED OF SECURITY
UPDATES AFFECTING TAX PROFESSIONALS. YOU CAN ALSO REGISTER FOR ENEWS
FOR TAX PROFESSIONALS OR FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @IRSTAXPROS AND AT FACEBOOK.COM/IRSTAXPROS.

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