The IRS has urged tax professionals and taxpayers to use the multi-factor authentication feature offered on tax preparation software products for preventing data thefts. Multi-factor authentication requires returning users to enter their username/password credentials plus another data point, such as a security code sent to their mobile phone.
The IRS advised taxpayers to always opt for multi-factor authentication with tax software products because of the sensitive data held in the software or online accounts. Moreover, the IRS reminded tax professionals to beware of phishing scams that thieves commonly use to gain control of computers. Data thieves generally claim to be a potential client, a cloud storage provider, a tax software provider, or even the IRS in their effort to trick tax professionals to download attachments or open links.
In addition, the IRS reminded tax professionals that they can track the number of returns filed with their Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) on a weekly basis to ensure EFINS are not being misused. Finally, the Service noted that taxpayers can visit Identity Theft Central to learn more about identity theft. Tax professionals should also visit Identity Theft Information for Tax Professionals and as well as read Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data to learn more about protecting data, signs of theft, or reporting data thefts.