IRS Debuts Taxpayer Identity Theft Video Series

The Internal Revenue Service has released the first of a series of YouTube videos providing information on how taxpayers can protect their tax and financial data.

The IRS is coordinating with state tax revenue departments and the tax industry on producing the videos as part of a security initiative it launched last year. The Security Summit initiative includes a public awareness campaign known as “Taxes. Security. Together.” aimed at combating taxpayer identity theft and tax refund fraud by educating taxpayers and providing them with tools to stay safe online (see IRS, States and Tax Prep Companies Launching Security Awareness Campaign for Taxpayers).

The first of the Security Awareness YouTube videos includes tips from four state officials reminding taxpayers to check their online accounts for problems, look for secure sites when shopping online and be careful to avoid phishing scams. The videos will be released daily over the next week.

“These are important reminders for all of us to protect ourselves online,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “These videos reflect the continuing collaborative work between the states, the tax industry and the IRS to protect taxpayers. We are jointly implementing major new procedures to protect taxpayers, but people can help by taking some precautionary steps to help us work to prevent identity theft.”

The “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign is a joint effort between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax industry. The campaign is designed to raise public awareness that even routine actions on the Internet and personal devices can affect the safety of financial and tax data. The education campaign will complement an expanded series of important new protections the IRS, states and tax industry are putting in place for the start of the 2016 filing season to address tax-related identity theft.

The six videos feature the heads of several state revenue departments from across the country, including Alabama Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee, Connecticut Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Executive Deputy Commissioner Nonie Manion, South Carolina Department of Revenue Director Rick Reames III, and Vermont Commissioner of Taxes Mary Peterson.

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You can also view the first video below.

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