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With tax season underway, it’s important to assure your customers that you have their best interests in mind – not just from a financial perspective but their individual livelihoods. They are entrusting you with their personal information; help them keep it safe from identity fraud. One way of doing so is to help them avoid becoming victims of IRS scams and tax fraud. Here are some ways to help protect your customers – and, ultimately, your business!
Protect Their Data as You Would Your Own
As a trusted steward of personal information and financial details, it’s important to protect their personally identifiable information (PII) and help them avoid tax fraud by following a strong records management protocol. To protect their data (and your business!), you should:
- Adhere to the Federal Law requiring you to implement a data security plan. If your company offers tax services or handles tax documents, remember to keep the IRS’ Taxes-Security-Together Checklist on hand.
- Keep your security software up-to-date, using file encryption software when collecting PII, and enabling multi-factor authentication.
- Shred paper files with PII once you are finished with them.
- Be discreet with the information you collect from customers when in the presence of others to avoid shoulder surfing and phishing.
The more comprehensive your data management protocol and proactive you are in communicating it with your customers, the more trust they will have in you!
Help Your Customers Protect Themselves From Tax Fraud
In addition to protecting your customers’ data, you can share these tips to help them avoid becoming a victim of tax fraud. Encourage your customers to:
- File as early as possible. Filing early helps ensure a refund goes to the right person, not the fraudsters!
- Keep security software up-to-date. While it’s always a good time to do a system security check, tax season is one of the most important times of year to make sure everything is up to date, given the number of thieves on the prowl for tax refunds. Take the time now to avoid issues later!
- Beware of IRS imposters. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message, or social media channels – identity thieves are the ones using phone scams and phishing attempts to collect information. Beware of IRS scams!
- Stay safe online. When providing information online – particularly when sharing sensitive, personal information like your finances, Social Security number, etc. – upload the documents via secure portals, use multi-factor authentication, and follow cybersecurity best practices. Don’t take safety shortcuts!
- Shred paper documents and correspondence. Keep personal information safe by shredding it rather than tossing it. Don’t give “dumpster divers” the opportunity to collect PII – and refunds!
- Monitor tax refund status. Use the IRS online tool to track your filing status and make sure your refund is going to the right place.
- Report suspicious activity immediately. If you suspect you may be a victim of tax fraud or identity theft, you should contact the IRS immediately for assistance. If you suspect you have had contact with an IRS imposter scam, report it to the US Treasury Inspector General.
Businesses like yours should take this season to show your customers how much you care about keeping their data and identities safe – in as little as 30 days, you could be providing them an invaluable service like comprehensive identity and cyber protection that includes 24/7 access to certified fraud resolution experts, identity and credit monitoring, scam research assistance, and cyber protection services. Contact Iris Powered by Generali today to learn how your business can start the year off right by protecting your customers’ identities year-round.