Recommendations - User Accounts and Data Safeguards
- Use unique passwords for each of your sensitive accounts. Do not re-use passwords, or use the same passwords on multiple accounts.
- Use strong passwords that include upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- Change passwords periodically - at least quarterly.
- Protect your personal computers by utilizing a firewall, anti-spam/virus software as well as updated security patches.
- Educate staff about phishing emails and scams targeting tax professionals.
- Be very suspicious of any email asking for your account login or other personal information.
- Do not open email attachments from untrusted sources or that appear suspicious.
Tips to Protect Your Network
- Maintain a network firewall.
- Limit remote access to the network data to office hour access, and only by trusted users (not all employees or IT professionals).
- Confirm anti-virus software runs a deep scan on each workstation, every night.
- Schedule operating system updates to install at least weekly, on each workstation.
- Change WiFi default password to protect and limit hours of access to normal business hours.
- Securely backup data with complete backups on daily, weekly and monthly intervals.
Tips to Protect Your Office
- Shred financial reports.
- Remove data from all hardware and media before disposing of.
- Save PDF tax returns with masked SSN.
- Consider insurance with data theft coverage.
- Review E-Services EFIN activity.
Intuit Online Security Resource
- IRS Warns of New Wave of Attacks Focused on Tax Professionals https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-warns-of-a-new-wave-of-attacks-focused-on-tax-professionals
- Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft
- Tips for Taxpayers, Victims About Identity Theft and Tax Returns: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Taxpayers,-Victims-about-Identity-Theft-and-Tax-Returns
- IRS Publication 4577 Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, A Guide for Your Business: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4557.pdf
- IRS Publication 4524 Security Awareness for Taxpayers- Information to share with your clients: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4524.pdf
- Tax Professionals: Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself from Identity Theft: https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-professionals-protect-your-clients-protect-yourself-from-identity-theft
- Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/protect-your-clients-protect-yourself
- Security Summit Reviews 2016 Accomplishments, Announcements 2017 Initiatives: https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/security-summit-reviews-2016-accomplishments-announces-2017-initiatives
Other Articles to Try:
- September 2, 2016: IRS Cautions Tax Professionals of a New Wave of Identity Theft Attacks
- Contacting the IRS for Tax-Related Identity Theft Information
- Entering the Individual Identity Theft Protection PIN - IP PIN
- Entering Taxpayer's Identity Theft Protection PIN - PTO
- State Agency Driver's License and State ID Expectations
- Firewall and Anti-Virus Software Configuration for Lacerte Tax
- IRS Notice Alerts Preparers - New Phishing Scheme Mimics Software Providers
- EFIN Facts: Providing EFIN Verification to Intuit Before e-Filing
- Password Protecting a Client File
- Creating and E-mailing Password Protected PDFs to Clients from within Lacerte
- Data Theft Next Steps for Tax Professionals
- Managing Online Fraud and Identity Theft FAQs