By Steven G. Kerr, vice president – strategy and business development, administration
Last month, the IRS and its partners hosted their 2017 Security Summit, where Commissioner John Koskinen reported remarkable progress in the fight against taxpayer identity theft. The number of victims dropped nearly 50 percent from 2015 to 2016, with a continued sharp decline in 2017 based on early data. Of course, hundreds of thousands of individuals will still be affected by IRS-related identity theft, and that’s only a small portion of the estimated 15.4 million victims of identity theft and fraud in 2016.
Koskinen also noted, however, that there was an increase in identify theft of “business-related tax returns,” as well as a shift toward attacks on “places where large amounts of taxpayer data reside.” This includes tax return preparers, other tax professionals, the payroll community, and human resources departments. This shift in targeting could have a significant impact on CPAs and their businesses, as well as their clients. Again, this is only a small part of the increasing cyber risks faced by small and midsize businesses.
The PICPA Insurance Trust, in partnership with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., recently introduced several new options to help individuals and small businesses secure themselves against these digital risks, with discounts and benefits exclusive to PICPA members:
PICPA members can find more information about these and other insurance programs on our website, as well as free access to the Arthur J. Gallagher Knowledge Center’s whitepapers, articles, and tools to help manage a variety of risks. Also check out PICPA’s Technology webpage for cybersecurity resources and CPE on how to protect your company and plan for the latest threats.