Protecting taxpayers for six decades, H&R Block enhances efforts for tax season 2016
“Taxpayers trust us with some of their most important information and documents and we take that responsibility very seriously. We are committed to protecting their personal data from unauthorized access. We have a multi-layered approach to safeguard our clients’ most sensitive information.”
– Heather Watts, general manager of H&R Block’s DIY products
While H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) did not fall victim to the wide-scale online tax refund fraud that hit others in the industry last tax season the company has, nonetheless, helped lead the way for assisted and do-it-yourself tax preparation companies to combat stolen identity refund fraud. The company’s enhanced security features focus on access, authentication and activation of an individual’s online tax preparation account.
H&R Block’s DIY solution, which is now available online for 2016, has required multi-layer authentication for several tax seasons, long before others in the DIY industry. However, this year, the company has added security features that provide even more protection against stolen identity refund fraud, including increased password requirements, notification to clients upon account access or key changes to their account.
“Taxpayers trust us with some of their most important information and documents and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said Heather Watts, general manager of H&R Block’s DIY products. “We are committed to protecting their personal data from unauthorized access. We have a multi-layered approach to safeguard our clients’ most sensitive information.”
H&R Block provides three levels of protection
1. Bank-level encryption technology
Bank-level encryption technology safeguards sensitive information while it’s electronically sent to the IRS.
2. Multi-layer authentication
Several layers of authentication are used when clients log in to protect their H&R Block accounts from unauthorized access.
3. Web browsing encryption technology
A secure connection is established between the client’s browser and our servers, encrypting any data that is passed between them to protect the privacy of that data.
H&R Block already allows only one account to file a return for a given Social Security number. The company has strengthened its account creation requirements and is recommending that all returning clients update their account settings to meet these stronger requirements:
- Requiring a stronger password
- Requiring additional security questions be asked and answered upon account setup
- Adding functionality that allows for authentication to be made via texting a numeric code to a known mobile phone
- Implementing Touch ID in H&R Block’s MyBlock and tax prep apps
Even though multiple enhancements have been made, the consumer experience, either in the office or online, won’t differ much from previous years. H&R Block always takes the responsibility of protecting client data very seriously and has had many best practices in place for several years.
“We’re pleased that the entire tax preparation industry is working to combat the threat of identity theft tax refund fraud and have put in place a number of new safeguards to protect taxpayers this upcoming season,” Watts said.
For more information about protection against identity theft tax refund fraud, visit the fraud page on the Tax Information Center. Consumers can find an H&R Block location near them by calling 800-HRBLOCK or visiting www.hrblock.com.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world’s largest consumer tax services provider. More than 680 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955. In fiscal 2015, H&R Block had annual revenues of nearly $3.1 billion with 24.2 million tax returns prepared worldwide. 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. H&R Block also offers adjacent Tax Plus products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom at https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/newsroom.