In a few of our posts, we have highlighted the possibility of taxpayers being victimized by fraud when preparing their returns. In some cases, they will be contacted by phone by scam artists posing as IRS agents who threaten to bring suit against an unwitting person unless a specific fee is paid.
Fortunately, many taxpayers have been warned about these schemes. Unfortunately, scammers never rest and are always coming up with new ways to deceive taxpayers. This post will focus on the latest scheme and how to avoid becoming a victim.
The IRS reports that scammers are posing as legitimate online entities that offer tax preparation software. In offering phony updates, the scam artists convince taxpayers to download what is essentially “Trojan horse” software that allows the scammer to access private email and other secure information. The software will track users’ keystrokes, Internet searches and allow scammers to steal secure files.
Known as “phishing” scams, a number of taxpayers and tax preparers have been affected. Phishing refers to the act of trolling email accounts by sending suggestive emails that people would readily react to.
To combat this threat, the IRS recommends that users avoid clicking on links from unknown senders or emails that you are not expecting or familiar with. Additionally, continually resetting email passwords and being wary of unsolicited attempts to update software can limit the changes of being hacked. Additionally, running a deep scan to detect and neutralize threats can be helpful.
The preceding is not legal advice.