IRS urges tax preparers to use computer security scans

Protect your tax business and clients this tax season by checking your computers for malware and viruses.

The IRS urged tax return preparers to perform security scans on their computer drives and devices to safeguard sensitive information. Preparers’ passwords for IRS accounts or sensitive taxpayer data stored on computers could be at risk from email phishing scams. Last week, the IRS said in 2016 it has already seen several email phishing scams, some posing as the IRS.

The IRS recommends tax preparers follow five steps to prevent malware and viruses:

  1. Robust security software that helps block malware should be installed for preparers and all employees. Keep it turned on and active at all times.
  2. Use the “deep scan” function to fully scan all drives and files for any malware or viruses. Performing a deep scan periodically can find any bugs that hide in places a “quick scan” does not search.
  3. Set your security software to update automatically so it is always up-to-date to detect new and emerging malware and viruses.
  4. Review the security plan for your office and operations. IRS Publication 4557 can help you.
  5. Educate employees about the dangers of phishing malware, emails and other scams. One phishing email can result in all office computers being hacked.

As tax season takes off, take some time to do your part protecting personal and financial data!