Protecting Clients from Tax-Related Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft is a continuing problem, with the National Tax Advocate reporting that the use of stolen Social Security numbers to collect fraudulent tax refunds increased more than 78 percent from 2011 to 2012, affecting nearly 450,000 individuals. Experian's ProtectMyID service offered the following advice for ways that taxpayers can protect themselves. A trustworthy tax preparer is an important part of the solution.

Place tax documents in a secure location, such as a safe or a locking file cabinet, and store them there until needed to prepare tax forms. Do not leave them in a car.

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Some tax apps require users to take photos of W2 forms. Be sure to delete images after use.

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Password-protect your smartphone.

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Do not follow links in emails or text messages to the IRS site. Always type "irs.gov" directly into a browser to avoid vicious links. Report fraudulent IRS emails, texts or phone calls to phishing@irs.gov.

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Keep operating systems and all computer protection software up to date.

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Do not use public computers to e-file taxes.

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Tax preparers should tell clients about the security measures employed by their offices.

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Tax preparers should not ask clients to sign blank tax returns.

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Wipe the hard drive before disposing of or donating an old computer that contains personal or financial information.

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Monitor credit reports regularly.

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Silliest Excuses for Getting to Work Late

Getting to work on time, whether it's at an accounting firm or another type of business, can be hard enough without the added obstacles imposed by car trunk thieves, gas station stick-ups and shower mishaps. Yet, these are exactly the types of incidents some workers claim prevented them from getting to work on time this year, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. When asked about the most outrageous excuses employees have given them for being late, employers shared the following:

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10 Things Holding Your Firm Back

Self-created obstacles to growth

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8 Last-Minute Tax Tips

With minutes counting down to this year's tax deadline, clients (and many of their accountants) are scrambling to get paperwork wrapped up on time. But many financial and tax professionals caution that in the heat of the moment, even the most knowledgeable can forget the basics – never mind easy-to-miss, specialized strategies.

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Taxpayers Gone Wrong

Tax pros share their clients’ worst ideas about taxes

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Is Your Firm in Danger?

11 ways to protect your practice from liability

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Most Suspicious IRS Audit Triggers

The Minnesota Society of CPAs has compiled a list of red flags that could trigger an audit from the IRS if they apply to your clients' tax returns.

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Top 7 Retention Tactics

The Top 100 Firms get creative when trying to retain top talent.

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Top 10 Recruiting Tactics

The Top 100 Firms share their best strategies.

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The Fastest-Growing Firms in the U.S.

The firms with the highest 2014 revenue growth in our Top 100 Firms/Regional Leaders list

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Where the Wealthy Go to School

Looking for rich clients? Here's a ranking of the top U.S. universities by number of ultra-wealthy alumni.

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