The IRS and Security Summit partners have urged tax professionals to be vigilant and look out for the signs of data theft perpetrated by identity thieves and take critical action to protect data. Tax professionals should watch out for the following critical signs:
- e-filed returns were rejected because the Social Security number was already used on another return;
- more e-filing acknowledgements were received than returns filed by the tax professionals;
- taxpayers responded to emails not sent by their tax professional; and
- slow or unexpected computer or network responsiveness, computer cursor moves or changes numbers without touching the mouse or keyboard and getting locked out of a network or computer.
Tax professionals should immediately contact the local IRS stakeholder liaison if they become aware of signs of data theft. Tax preparers can also be pro-active with taxpayers and suggest they obtain an IP PIN or complete the Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.