Tax Season 2019 – IRS ‘Dirty Dozen’ Tax Scams
In case you didn’t know there are two major holidays that cyber crooks celebrate. Christmas and tax season. Tax season is upon us and the crooks are working overtime.
Most tax scams are known and they may vary a little but not much. And of course cyber criminals are alway thinking of new ways to rob you. So the IRS is issuing warnings to individuals and professional tax preparers to be aware.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “Taxpayers should be on constant guard for these phishing schemes, which can be tricky and cleverly disguised to look like it’s the IRS. Watch out for emails and other scams posing as the IRS, promising a big refund or personally threatening people. Don’t open attachments and click on links in emails. Don’t fall victim to phishing or other common scams.”
Among the latest scams the IRS has noticed is one in which the scammer, after getting personal information from a victim, uses a taxpayer’s bank account against them.
According to the IRS, “After stealing personal data and filing fraudulent tax returns, criminals use taxpayers’ bank accounts to direct deposit tax refunds. Thieves then use various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayer, including falsely claiming to be from a collection agency or the IRS.” The IRS is warning taxpayers to be vigilant for this new variation. Look for this new phishing attack by checking you bank accounts for unexpected direct deposits regularly. And remember, if someone is asking you for money, you should be asking the questions!
For tax professionals they need to be on the look out for phishing scams as well. The agency is warning tax pros of “advanced” schemes targeted at them. For example look for scams like business email compromise or spoofing. Using these techniques, crooks can pose as a business seeking payment on an invoice, an employee needing to re-route a direct deposit or someone a taxpayer has entrusted to perform a wire transfer. Remember that we are dealing with professional criminals and they can be clever with replica emails and sound very convincing on the phone.
Remember, if a taxpayer or tax professional suspects, even slightly, a phishing attempt using the IRS’s name or association, they should report it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Another fact to keep in mind is that the IRS generally will not contact taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. Nor will they reach out to you via a text messages or use Facebook, Twitter or other social media channels.