THE IRS SECURITY SUMMIT WARNS OF NEW PHISHING EMAIL TARGETING TAX PROS

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Phishing, Security Summit

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry warned tax professionals to beware of phishing emails purporting to be from a tax software education provider and seeking extensive amounts of sensitive preparer data. The email’s origin is unknown but likely issued by cybercriminals who could be operating from the U.S. or abroad. The email is unusual for the amount of sensitive preparer data that it seeks. This preparer information will enable the thieves to steal client data and file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS reminds all tax professionals that legitimate businesses and organizations never ask for usernames, passwords, or sensitive data via email. Nor should a preparer ever provide such sensitive information via email if asked. All tax professionals should be aware that their e-Services credentials, the Electronic Filing Information Number (EFIN), the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and their Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number are extremely valuable to identity thieves. Anyone handling taxpayer information has a legal obligation to protect that data. Because the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, acting in partnership as the Security Summit, are making inroads on individual tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals increasingly target tax professionals. Thieves are looking for real client … Read More

HOW TO KNOW IT’S REALLY THE IRS CALLING OR KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Phishing, Scams, Security

HOW TO KNOW IT’S REALLY THE IRS CALLING OR KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR

HOW TO KNOW IT’S REALLY THE IRS CALLING OR KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person, over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. The IRS wants you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations. Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several notices from the IRS in the mail. Note that the IRS does not: Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone. Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the … Read More

TAX PROFESSIONALS WARNED OF VARIOUS SCAMS; URGED TO BE WARY OF SCHEMES AS FILING SEASON DEADLINE APPROACHES

NSTPFraud, Fraudulent Tax Refunds, Hackers, Identity Theft, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Online Scams, Phishing, Security

TAX PROFESSIONALS WARNED OF VARIOUS SCAMS; URGED TO BE WARY OF SCHEMES AS FILING SEASON DEADLINE APPROACHES In what is becoming a repetitive theme the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry are again warning tax professionals to beware of phishing email scams claiming to be from IRS e-Services and of schemes in general as we approach the April 18 deadline. Do not become a victim of these scams that are inundating the tax professional community. If you receive an email and you are uncertain of the validity then do not respond! Open your browser and go directly to the website for your software vendor, or bank, or credit card company or the IRS to request clarification if necessary. Under the leadership of the Security Summit; the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry warned that this time of year is the high season for identity thieves scams to steal sensitive data from tax professionals. All tax preparers and their employees must be on guard against phishing activities. The IRS noted a particular surge in the past 24 hours related to a phishing email scam that seeks to steal practitioners’ usernames and passwords for IRS e-Services. … Read More

SECURITY SUMMIT ALERT: TAX PROFESSIONALS WARNED OF NEW SCAM TO “UNLOCK” THEIR TAX SOFTWARE ACCOUNTS

NSTPOnline Scams, Phishing, Security, Security Summit

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry are warning tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating software providers. The scam email comes with the subject line, “Access Locked.” It tells recipients that access to their tax prep software accounts has been “suspended due to errors in your security details.” The scam email asks the tax professional to address the issue by using an “unlock” link provided in the email. However, the link will take the tax professional to a fake web page, where they are asked to enter their user name and password. Instead of unlocking accounts, the tax professionals actually are inadvertently providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information. The Security Summit partners, which includes the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax community, reminds tax professionals and taxpayers to never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email. These scams can increase during the tax season. For tax professionals who receive emails purportedly from their tax software providers suggesting their accounts have been suspended, should send those scam emails to their tax software … Read More

ICYMI: NEW TWO-STAGE E-MAIL SCHEME TARGETS TAX PROFESSIONALS

NSTPHackers, Online Scams, Phishing, Security, Tax Professionals

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and tax industry leaders are warning tax professionals to be alert to an email scam from cybercriminals posing as clients soliciting their services. A new variation of this phishing scheme is targeting accounting and tax preparation firms nationwide. The scheme’s objective is to collect sensitive information that will allow fraudsters to prepare fraudulent tax returns. These latest phishing emails typically come in two stages. The first email is the solicitation, which asks tax professionals questions such as “I need a preparer to file my taxes.” If the tax professional responds, the cybercriminal sends a second email. This second email typically has either an embedded web address or contains a PDF attachment that has an embedded web address. The tax professional may think they are downloading a potential client’s tax information or accessing a site with the potential client’s tax information. In reality, the cybercriminals are collecting the preparer’s email address and password and possibly other information. The IRS urges tax professionals and tax preparation firms to consider creating internal policies or seeking security experts’ recommendations on how to address unsolicited emails seeking their services. One tip: Never click on a link in an … Read More

IRS OFFERS TIPS ON VALIDATING YOUR IDENTITY ON YOUR TAX RETURN

NSTPHackers, Online Scams, Phishing, Security

You should always keep a copy of your tax return. It is even more important for 2017, as the Internal Revenue Service moves to strengthen its e-signature validation process. You must use your 2015 adjusted gross income or your 2015 self-select PIN to validate your identity on your federal electronic tax return this tax season. The electronic filing PIN is no longer available as an option. As part of the IRS efforts to protect taxpayers, the e-signature validation change mostly affects those taxpayers who have used tax software in the past but are changing software brands in 2017. If that’s you, learn more about how to verify your identity and electronically sign your tax return at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return. Here are a few important steps: Find a copy of your 2015 tax return; the original return filed with the IRS. Create a five-digit Self-Select PIN to serve as your electronic signature. It can be any five numbers except all zeros. If married filing jointly, each taxpayer must create a self-select PIN. Provide your date of birth when prompted Provide either your 2015 adjusted gross income or your 2015 self-select PIN as the “shared secret” between you and the … Read More