H&R Block Products Help Address Tax Identity Theft for DIY and Retail Clients
Security takes center stage as threat of fraud increases
Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, which is Jan. 30 to Feb. 3 this year, educates consumers about protecting themselves and recovering from these crimes. H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) has the industry’s only tax preparation-specific products to help better protect clients’ tax identity and assist them in the event someone files a fraudulent tax return using their information. These H&R Block products are Tax Identity Care for do-it-yourself clients, and Tax Identity Shield for clients who work with a tax professional in a retail tax office.
“Taxpayers should feel secure in knowing they are filing an accurate tax return that gets them their maximum refund and they will have access to tools that can help better protect their tax identity,” said Mark Ciaramitaro, H&R Block vice president of products and services. “Not only do H&R Block products incorporate features that help better protect clients’ tax identity, but they also offer tax identity restoration options in the unlikely event of tax identity fraud.”
H&R Block sets security standards high
To protect its clients, H&R Block continues to provide innovative features to safeguard clients’ personal information. H&R Block products combine these layers of security technologies to safeguard sensitive information:
- Encryption technology, which safeguards sensitive information while it’s electronically sent to the IRS
- Several layers of authentication are used during login to further protect H&R Block client accounts from unauthorized access
- Secure connection is established between clients’ browser and H&R Block’s servers, encrypting any data that is passed between them to protect the privacy of that data.
Tax Identity Care
New this tax season exclusively for H&R Block DIY clients, Tax Identity Care can be added through online and software download products on hrblock.com. Tax Identity Care offers two primary features to better protect clients from the prolific rise in tax identity theft in the U.S.
For the one-time fee of 14.99, Tax Identity Care offers H&R Block DIY clients these services:
- Prevention: An H&R Block expert will provide assistance to Tax Identity Care clients to help proactively address their risk of becoming a victim of tax identity theft. This expert will assist clients in applying for additional safeguards such as an IP PIN or Identity Theft Indicator from the IRS (subject to IRS eligibility). Both are additional layers of security employed by the IRS to better authenticate tax filers.
- Restoration: If the client is a victim of tax identity theft when they purchase Tax Identity Care on this year’s tax return, the client will have access to dedicated H&R Block restoration specialists to guide and support them in restoring their identity, and ultimately help them get their refund as soon as possible.
Tax Identity Shield
With Tax Identity Shield, H&R Block has partnered with Equifax to provide assisted clients with access to tools to understand their potential risk of tax identity theft. For the one-time fee of $30, Tax Identity Shield offers H&R Block clients these features:
- Assistance requesting additional IRS protection (for eligible applicants)
- A one-time Tax Identity Theft Risk Assessment after the new year to determine potential risk for tax identity theft
- Updates on current scams and threats so clients can actively reduce their risk
- Access to a one-time Equifax credit score and report for the primary taxpayer
- Based on an Equifax® Credit Score model – third parties likely use a different score to assess your creditworthiness1
- Notification in the event their information was used to file a tax return with H&R Block to proactively identify potential fraud early in the tax filing process
- Access to H&R Block tax identity theft restoration assistance if someone files a tax return using their information next year.
“Some taxpayers have specific circumstances that make them more vulnerable, and as a safety precaution, having Tax Identity Care or Tax Identity Shield could help them if the need arises. Helping our clients reduce their risk of tax identity theft is a responsibility H&R Block takes very seriously,” Ciaramitaro said.
1 The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is a global consumer tax services provider. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products for the DIY consumer. H&R Block also offers adjacent Tax Plus products and services. In fiscal 2016, H&R Block had annual revenues of over $3 billion with 23.2 million tax returns prepared worldwide. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom at http://newsroom.hrblock.com/.
Tax Identity Theft is the largest growing identity theft crime and H&R Block is explaining what it is and how to fix it.
Tax identity theft is a multi-million-dollar business. In 2016, the IRS identified more than 1 million fraudulent returns.