The IRS warns of Phishing Scams (dont take the bait!)
During tax season the IRS takes extra measure to warn citizens of the increased danger of Phishing. If you aren't aware of what phishing is, the IRS defines it as " a scam typically carried out through unsolicited email and/or websites that pose as legitimate sites and lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information." In recent years e-mail phishing schemes have grown dramatically, targeting both taxpayers and tax preparers. Ultimately, this has lead the IRS to encourage both citizens and tax professionals to practice greater caution with emails; most phishing scams contain links that trick taxpayers into beleiving they've received legitimate communication from the IRS or others in the tax preparation profession, including tax software companies such as Intuit and H&R Block. These emails seek information related to filing status, refunds, personal information, verifying PINs and ordering transcripts.
These scams, which have been growing in bothscale and scope across the nation for several years now continue to plague well-intentioned filers. Impostors asking for personal tax information can potentially use it to file false tax returns. People are warned not to click on any suspicious emails that may carry malware, which is used to infect computers and allow these cyber criminals to access files and information. Some links even direct unsuspecting consumers to sites that are virtual doppelgangers of official websites such as IRS.gov.
The IRS Commissioner has warned "Watch out for fraudsters slipping these official-looking emails into inboxes, trying to confuse people at the very time they work on their taxes. We urge people not to click on these emails." Currently, the tax industry, IRS, and others are working together to alert citizens about the dangers of phishing. It is important to remember that the IRS does not generally initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request information, if you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS or a tax preparation service, report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Eric J. Pelton, CPA and his team of experienced professionals are never too busy to answer a question or handle your tax filing preparation. Email him here or call 423-622-3156 today and schedule a free consultation.