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Late-Season Email Scams Unleashed This Tax Season

Tax professionals and taxpayers alike are being warned that new email scams could derail plans for a refund this tax season.

As the filing season heads toward its April 18 deadline, identity thieves are sending out emails claiming to make last-minute deposit changes for refunds or account updates. On example aimed at tax pros claims to be from one of their customers, asking to make a change to their refund destination – usually to a prepaid debit card.

The Internal Revenue Service is urging tax preparers to verbally reconfirm information with their client should they get a last-minute request to change an address or direct-deposit account for refunds.

Tax pros are also being urged to change and strengthen their passwords in order to better protect the email accounts used to exchange sensitive data with clients.

Taxpayers Targeted Too

Individual taxpayers could also see scam emails, mostly claiming the IRS and asking the taxpayer to “update” online accounts. Like all such email schemes, this one attempts to fool the taxpayer into giving up sensitive data such as passwords, Social Security numbers, or bank and credit card numbers.

The alert on all these scams was sent out by the IRS and its Security Summit, a partnership group comprised of IRS personnel, state tax agencies and tax industry leaders. This group keeps an eye on the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape and recommends any changes needed to the IRS and the tax community at large.

For more on the Security Summit – and the latest on tax security measures - tax professionals can check out the IRS’ Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself website.

Bob Williams

Forget genes; I’ve got words in my DNA. Communication has been part of who I am nearly all my life. From a long career in radio news to another one in newspapers – and a University of Georgia journalism degree sandwiched between the two – language has been my life. I’ve also been fortunate to have learned the tax business from the ground up here at Drake, starting with 1040.com online forms some years ago before moving on to work on the Web. In all things tax-ish, we aim to give you tools you can use.

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