IRS Has Warned CPAs And Tax Professionals That A New Client Could Be An Identity Theft Scammer
The IRS has warned CPAs and tax professionals that their new client could be a scammer. The warning comes as tax season kicked off last week on January 29th when the IRS started accepting 2023 federal income tax returns. The IRS expects more than 146 million individual tax returns will be filed by April 15th.
As a result, it is prime time for scammers to hit the IRS with phony emails and texts. This is due to the great deal of personal information is being moved around.
Con artists want to gain access to personal information that can be used to create authentic looking tax returns. Or worse, use it to commit other types of fraud.”
Scammers use the IRS logo in phishing attempts and claim “Action Required: Your account has now been put on hold.”
The IRS reminds people that they initiate most contacts through regular mail. They will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media.
The IRS Has Warned CPAs And Tax Professionals That Scammers Are Now Targeting Them
Now, scammers are now targeting tax professionals in order to gain data.
The IRS says cybercriminals are masquerading as real taxpayers looking for help.
However, what the criminals really want are the tax professional’s e-Service account passwords and electronic filing identification number.
The IRS also says more brazen scammers will even pose as the IRS or e-Services.
Now, even an email from a “new client” needs to be treated suspiciously.
The IRS said they have received hundreds of reports at email@example.com.
The new client scam made up roughly two-thirds of the 400 reports of business email compromise or business email spoofing complaints that came in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax professionals say they’re being inundated with such phishing scams.
Fake emails present a great risk, especially if a tax professional downloads a potential client’s tax information or accessing a site with the potential client’s tax information.
When that happens, the IRS said, cybercriminals could collect the preparer’s email address, password and possibly other information — or load malware onto the tax pro’s computer to gain access to the system.
The IRS recommends that tax professionals reach out to report data theft immediately to the local IRS stakeholder liaison. The liaison will notify IRS Criminal Investigation and others with the agency. “If reported quickly, the IRS can take steps to block fraudulent returns in clients’ names and take other steps to protect the tax professional their clients,” the IRS stated in its alert.