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ASK THE EDD ATTORNEY – TAX PRACTITIONERS – THE IRS ISSUES NEW SECURITY WARNINGS FOR 2018

By Robert S. Schriebman

2018

Introduction

This is not the first article on this website to warn tax return preparers and tax professionals about security and hacking risks. But, I will follow the lead of the IRS in informing you of new warnings for the 2018 tax filing season. The bottom line: be skeptical; be diligent; don't open that email if you have the slightest hesitation.

The IRS has issued "Tax Tip 2017-83" warning of six typical phishing scams that have victimized our tax community. Cyber crooks are very good at what they do. Thieves are not lazy. They are smart and they work hard at their craft. They are also patient and if the first scam doesn't work, you can bet they will soon try another.

In this article I will set forth the six examples of email phishing scams that were published by the IRS for your protection.

Examples of Email Phishing Scams

  • You receive an email requesting personal information such as bank account numbers, passwords, credit cards and Social Security numbers. The IRS tells us that this is the most common way crooks steal your data.
  • You receive an email warning you to update online financial accounts at a hyperlink. There is great urgency in this email for it is designed to scare you and to pander to your emotions instead of your logic.
  • This is the so called "Friends and Family" email in which you receive a "look alike" address for friends and family or a client's business. This email makes a light change to the established address, and mixes up letters that your eye quickly passes over. Your mind tells you that email address is very familiar, but if you took a step back, read and re-read the email address you would see that the letters have been slightly changed. Of course this is designed to trick you.
  • The phony IRS refund email. 1) You are told that you or a client has an IRS refund just waiting to be redeemed at the next email address. This scam is also used, according to the IRS, to obtain phony life insurance proceeds.
  • The phony IRS refund email. 2) "Hello, we are from the IRS and according to our internal calculations, you or your client are entitled to a refund of $x. Just visit this link to obtain your refund." This email takes you to a fake site that continues to ask for personal information before releasing the refund. There is no refund! Don't fall for it.
  • The malware and virus email. This includes a PDF attachment that will download the disaster into your computer. Lesson: if you have the slightest suspicion, delete the email.

Conclusion

2018 tax season is just beginning. The Treasury Department, IRS, and its private industry partners are working hard to publish the latest information that will protect you and your clients. As these information releases are published, I will keep you informed.

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Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States. He has successfully dedicated more than 40 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments.

Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.

Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House.

Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.

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