IRS, Security Summit partners warn tax professionals on scams May 2020 Tax News
The IRS, state tax agencies, and the nation’s tax industry continue to see an upswing in data thefts from tax professionals as cybercriminals try to take advantage of COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments to create new scams.
The Security Summit partners continue working closely together to watch for new threats during the coronavirus.
In addition, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) is actively working to combat scam artists trying to exploit Economic Impact Payments and other provisions related to coronavirus. The scams CI has already seen look to prey on vulnerable taxpayers who are unaware of how the payments will reach them. IRS CI is prioritizing these types of investigations to help protect taxpayers and the tax system.
- Tax Pros: Use a Virtual Private Network for extra security
All tax professionals who are teleworking should be using an encrypted Virtual Private Network or VPN.
- Multi-Factor Authentication helps protect data
This year, most tax software providers for tax professionals and for taxpayers are offering the option of multi-factor authentication. Security Summit partners urge the use of this option.
- Avoid phishing scams
Identity thieves have stepped up phishing scam efforts to capitalize on COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments. Crooks are targeting tax professionals as well as taxpayers.
Taxpayers can report suspicious emails posing as the IRS to their PHISHING mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Watch out for IRS impersonation scams
The IRS will not call, email or text anyone about Economic Impact Payments.
- Don’t forget security software
Everyone, especially tax professionals, should be using broad-based security software that protects not just their computers but mobile phones as well. Security features will help identify and stop potentially dangerous malware that can infect digital networks.
For more help, the IRS and the Security Summit partners urge tax practitioners to review the security measures outlined in Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.