National Tax Security Awareness Week: Nov. 27–Dec. 1
In the wake of the Equifax data breach earlier this year, tax payers may be more wary than ever about cybercriminals and identity theft. That’s where the Security Summit comes in—a partnership of the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry.
Starting the Monday after Thanksgiving, the Summit will host the second-annual National Tax Security Awareness Week, with over 20 events across the country dedicated to educating and empowering people to protect their data and identities.
The timing of the event is an appropriate kick-off to the holiday season. As holiday shoppers flock to the mall and online shopping sites this time of year, there is often a spike in cybercriminal activity—schemes designed to trick people into disclosing their private information, which can then be used by cyber thieves to file fraudulent tax returns.
This year, the IRS and individual states are rolling out new defenses designed to protect victims against cybercriminals who have stolen their names, addresses and social security numbers. These are the same pieces of data that was compromised in the Equifax breach, which impacted approximately half of all Americans.
The week-long awareness-raising event will teach individuals the specifics of how to protect their identities and private data, as well as what victims can do in the event of a breach. In part, it will provide information on:
- How to identify and react to suspicious and potentially illegitimate communications from cyber criminals
- How to correctly use security software
- Steps to enhance the protection of your data
In addition, employers will also have the opportunity to learn about common scams directed at small businesses—which are also a target for identity theft.