Summer tax scams are in full swing, with the IRS warning taxpayers that just because tax filing season has ended for most taxpayers, “new and emerging schemes” involving the tax system continue to claim victims.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted in a recent alert that “many of these are variations of a theme, involving fictitious tax bills and demands to pay by purchasing and transferring information involving a gift card or iTunes card.”
Taxpayers can avoid these and other “tricky financial scams by taking a few minutes to review the telltale signs of these schemes.”
The IRS along with state tax agencies and the tax industry are also warning 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 IRS stated in a recent alert.
“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 said.
The IRS is reminding 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.
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, the IRS said. “Anyone handling taxpayer information has a legal obligation to protect that data.”
The IRS listed the following among its “new and emerging” summer scams list: