With the IRS's most recent continuation of the "Dirty Dozen" series of scams comes a reminder to remain on the lookout for malicious scam attacks. These attacks may take the form of a phone call, email, website link, or social media post made to gain sensitive information from an unsuspecting person, and they're always on the rise. As time passes, the scammers behind these attacks develop new ways to trick people into giving out their information, willingly or not. In this year's list, the IRS highlights a series of these scams, also known as phishing scams, including those explicitly targeted at tax professionals.
Phishing scams can take various forms, the most notorious likely being a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or another financial institution. These messages might include some reason for urgency on the part of the recipient, may it be a promise of money, a false notification of a missing payment, or even a threatening statement meant to stir the receiving party to play into their scam. But don't be fooled! A majority of these scams aim to scare their targets into taking action against whatever warning they received. And since these scammers may take on the guise of an institution such as the IRS, their threats may appear to have merit to unsuspecting victims.
A specific type of phishing scam targeted towards tax professionals is called a "New Client" scam. These scams will likely take the form of an email where the sender claims to be interested in enlisting the recipient's services. The email may also contain a link or attachment that appears to be connected to something resembling a notice from the IRS or a previous year's tax return belonging to the sender. There have been reports of tax professionals receiving emails from a so-called "IRS Tax E-Filing" service, which the IRS notes to be fictitious. The IRS warns those who have received these emails not to click any attachments included and instead report the scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
At the end of the day, it's better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your taxes and keeping your personal information secure.
Read more about this new wave of phishing scams listed by the IRS as well as the rest of this year's "Dirty Dozen" series at irs.gov!