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National Tax Security Awareness Week to Focus on Identity Theft Prevention

Edited November 23, 2020: Added the list of National Tax Security Awareness Week webinars. 

IRS says National Tax Security Awareness Week tips can help you avoid identity theft.

Tax professionals across the country are preparing for next filing season by training seasonal staff, reviewing software updates, and earning CPE. While those annual rituals are required for success in January, the Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners use their annual National Tax Security Awareness Week event to stress that data security is an equally important part of pre-season planning.

Since 2016, National Tax Security Awareness Week has been used to highlight data security best practices. This year, the IRS says the event will be held from November 30 to December 4, and it will include tips for avoiding identity theft tax refund fraud. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig provided two reasons for the slight shift in focus:  

  • More Americans are using telework to avoid exposure to COVID-19.
  • The agency anticipates a holiday spike in COVID-related phishing scams.  

Traditionally focusing on a different security topic on each day of the event, the IRS press release included the following preview for this year’s National Tax Security Awareness Week:

  • Day 1: Cyber Monday: Protect personal and financial information online
  • Day 2: Use multi-factor authentication
  • Day 3: Get an Identity Protection PIN
  • Day 4: Businesses at risk for identity theft
  • Day 5: Tax professionals should review their safeguards

While the first three days will focus on specific actions that individuals can take to protect their data, the end of the week covers business- and tax professional-specific recommendations.

In addition to press releases, the IRS says National Tax Security Awareness Week educational materials will also be published on social media: “The effort will include special informational graphics and a social media effort on Twitter and Instagram with @IRSnews and #TaxSecurity.” Those who prefer YouTube can check out “Easy Steps to Protect Your Computer and Phone” and “Avoid Phishing Emails” on the IRSvideos channel.

Sign up for a webinar!

The IRS will be hosting a webinar on each day’s topic during National Tax Security Awareness Week. The following list comes directly from the agency, and it contains links to register:

November 30

Click Here to Register

Cyber Monday: Security Types from the IRS

This webinar will cover the following:

  • Shopping Securely Online
  • Security Software Tips for Computers and Mobile Devices
  • Identifying Phishing Scams
  • Cybersecurity when working from home

December 1

Click Here to Register

How to Protect Your Accounts Using Multi-Factor Authentication

This webinar will cover the following:

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology Tips for Strong Passwords
  • Password Managers to Secure Unique Passwords
  • Options for Multi-Factor Authentication

December 2

Click Here to Register

Get an Identity Protection Pin

This webinar will cover the following:

  • What is an Identity Protection PIN?
  • January expansion of IRS IP PIN Program
  • Steps to Obtain an IP PIN

December 3

Click Here to Register

Small Businesses Must Guard Against Identity Theft

This webinar will cover the following:

  • Federal Trade Commission Security Tips for Small Business
  • Protecting Wireless Networks
  • IRS Assistance for Businesses Experiencing Tax-Related Identity Theft

December 4

Click Here to Register

Beware of Phishing Scams Targeting All Taxpayers

This webinar will cover the following:

  • Impact of COVID-19 on Cybercriminal Phishing Scams
  • Visual Examples of Recent COVID-19 Related Phishing Scams
  • Common Characteristics of Phishing Messages

Don’t forget to check Taxing Subjects on each day of the event, starting Monday, November 30.

Source: IR-2020-259 

Story provided by TaxingSubjects.com