The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a warning to tax professionals to be alert to a new e-mail scam that impersonates tax software providers and attempts to steal usernames and passwords. Recipients of these e-mails are told that, due to a recent software upgrade, the tax preparer must revalidate their login credentials. It provides a link to a fictitious website that mirrors the software provider's actual login page. However, instead of upgrading software, the tax professionals are providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers' accounts and steal client information.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as part of the Security Summit, is urging tax professionals to stay vigilant with regard to a variety of e-mail scams and "spear phishing" that aim to steal personal information about clients and companies. Between January and May 2017, some 177 tax professionals or firms reported data thefts involving thousands of clients' information.
The IRS Security Summit issued a warning to tax professionals about a new e-mail scam by cybercriminals posing as potential clients. Scammers are sending phishing e-mails in two parts, beginning with a standard solicitation for services followed by a second email with an embedded web address or PDF attachment with an embedded web address. When the tax professional thinks they are accessing a new client's tax information, in reality they are opening up their system for the scammer to collect personal information for illegitimate use.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched a new, web-based tool to assist taxpayers with simple balance inquiries. The new feature is one part of the IRS' plans to build a wider platform for taxpayers to more quickly and securely access various aspects of their account information online. A rigorous identity authentication process is required for all new users of this tool.
Beginning October 24, 2016, the IRS will be strengthening the identity authentication process of its e-services platform. If you currently use any IRS e-services, you must re-register and validate your identity to continue having access to any e-services products. This will involve a Secure Access process to validate your identity, which includes identity proofing, financial verification and mobile phone verification. For details, click here: Important Update for Your e-services Account.
Taxpayers and tax professionals across the U.S. are being targeted by yet another scam. The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners recently issued a warning regarding fake e-mails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act. The scam has already been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released a YouTube video for tax professionals to learn about the increase in cybercriminal activity targeting tax-related businesses and their data, and steps professional can take to protect their clients from identity theft. This video is part of the ongoing Secuirty Summit efforts to educate the public and professionals about the recent growth in refund fraud, phishing, and other tax scams. To learn more, watch the YouTube video here.
The Security Summit, a partnership between the IRS, state tax agencies, and private-sector tax industry executives, met on June 28, 2016 to review its first-year successes and strategize for 2017. The Summit focused on improving authentication procedures, information sharing, cybersecurity, and public outreach to help keep taxpayers' data and money safe.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has returned its Get Transcript Online tool back into service after disabling it in Spring 2015 due to security issues. With a "more rigorous e-authentication process" in place, all users can access copies of their tax transcripts and other tax-related information through the IRS' website once more. For taxpayers who find the new, two-step authentication process difficult, the IRS continues to offer more traditional ways to request and receive such data.
On April 28, 2016, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to pass a trio of bills affecting taxpayer information. One bill requires the IRS to notify victims of identity theft and also imposes new penalties on identity thieves; another bill limits the information certain tax-exempt organizations must reveal regarding their contributors; the third bill allows the IRS to provide taxpayer information to the police to help find missing children. The three bills, respectively, are H.R. 3832; H.R. 5053; and H.R. 3209.