Keeping my clients’ personal information private is of the utmost importance to me. At JW Enterprises, I make sure each and every item of data is kept secure.
With everything being digitized these days, data security is a top priority. And recently, as I flipped through the pages of Tax Pro Monthly, I found an interesting and helpful article about ways tax accountants and professionals can protect our clients’ data.
I’ve decided to share with you a few different ways to safeguard sensitive client data. By following the information below, clients can trust tax professionals handling their personal and financial information with the most care possible.
Be aware of phishing scams. “Phishing” is when scammers send fraudulent information via digital communication platforms (i.e. email, text, etc.) in order to obtain sensitive information such as account passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and the like. Never open an embedded link from an email, text, or website that you do not recognize.
The only person who should have access to client information is the tax professional handling the account.
Anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, drive encryption: this is all security software that helps keep information on computers protected. While PCs and Macs typically come with security software already installed, there is always the option to purchase further protection.
Being aware of possible data theft is essential. A tax preparation professional or firm can potentially be a victim of theft if one of the following occur:
● Clients receive tax returns before they file
● Clients’ tax returns are rejected (this could mean their S.S.N has already been used to file)
● Clients receive tax information they did not request.
Should anything out of the ordinary happen while filing, it is essential to contact the IRS immediately.
Tax professionals can receive weekly reports regarding the number of tax returns they’ve filed. To check, login to the IRS’s e-Service account and check your EFIN status. If the number of returns filed in the report does not match the real number you’ve filed, contact the IRS e-Help Desk.
While some of this may seem like common knowledge, it is essential to reiterate. Data safeguarding is also important should an individual or small business choose to file on their own using online tax software.
During tax season, a lot of data is being used to create the best return possible. Just remember: Be safe and protective of your valuable information.