Douglas Tax Blog. U.S.A. IR-117
The IRS Security Tax Scams program has warned tax professionals to increase their computer security and to beware of their inbox, especially the email scams that act as a friend and want them to click on a link, so they can download a virus onto their computer, to gain confidential information. The phishing scams target Social Security numbers of Tax Professionals, and can lead to identify theft and false tax returns.
Since this tax scam surfaced several years ago, the IRS has been educating the tax industry to take countermeasures, first by educating them on what is happening, and secondly by providing tools to share information when an attack does happen, so law enforcement can react to prosecute those perpetrating the crimes. The IRS security tax scams campaign, has led to convictions of a large number of criminal gangs, and individuals who have targeted the tax industry for personal Social Security numbers.
The effort is being led led by the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, Tax Inspector General For Tax Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Justice Department, and Attorney General’s of all 50 States. It is a large scale crackdown of the tax refund fraud that swept the United States over the several years, along with the identity theft crackdown. The tools available to both Federal and State agencies are being expanded, and more and more companies, and organizations are taking part, casting a wider net, to catch criminals at a faster pace.
The tax community and others with taxpayer data, including human resource departments, small businesses and others, are among those targeted with increasingly sophisticated phishing schemes. The Anti-Phishing Work Group, a not for profit industry focused on eliminating identity theft and fraud from phishing, reported seeing a significant increase in phishing activities in 2017 ans so far in the year 2018. As programs like the IRS security tax scams show, stopping phishing scams will require a large scale coordinated effort.