The IRS has recently warned of a new scam that targets tax professionals where cyber criminals pose as clients soliciting services from tax professionals. The scammers try to get the tax professional to turn over information to them or installs malware on the tax professional’s computers so that the scammer can steal confidential tax information directly from the tax professional.
This is how the scammers work: the scammer first sends an email that looks like a real solicitation from a potential client looking for a tax return preparer to file taxes. Being a diligent entrepreneur, the tax professional will likely respond to the email, and the scammer then sends a second email that either has an embedded web address or contains an attachment that the scammer says contains his or her tax information.
When the tax professional clicks on the link or downloads the attachment, the scammer then collects the tax professional’s email address, password and other private information. In addition, friends or colleagues of the tax professional may have been hacked which allows the scammer to pretend to be the friend or colleague. This increases the chance that the tax professional will fall victim to the scammer.
Because the IRS has increased its cyber security and has made the scammers job that much more difficult, the scammers are now including tax professionals in their scams in order to obtain client information that will allow them to get past increased IRS cyber security.
The scammers will use this information to sign in to financial accounts or create fake tax returns to file with the IRS to receive improper refunds. It is strongly recommended that you never respond to a scammer and do not click on a link in an email or an attachment from a sender that you do not recognize.