Tax Professionals Warned of Emerging Scams Targeting Client Information NYS Tax Department joins the IRS and other state tax agencies in awareness campaign
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The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is warning tax professionals of several new fraud schemes aimed at stealing sensitive client information. The Tax Department is joining the IRS and other state tax agencies to draw attention to the latest scams and encourage tax professionals to ensure they have the proper safeguards in place.
“Scammers are posing as customer support from their tax software provider requesting information to gain access to secure accounts,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “We’re alerting tax professionals to this scam and others to ensure they take the critical precautions necessary to stop these cyber criminals and protect sensitive tax return information.”
Impersonating tax software providers
Some scammers try to steal usernames and passwords by taking advantage of the fact that legitimate tax software companies often provide upgrades during the summer.
The subject line of one scam email, designed to look like the real provider’s email template, reads “Software Support Update” and promotes an “Important Software System Upgrade.” The message explains that the preparer must revalidate their login credentials because of a software upgrade and provides a link to a fake website, one that mirrors the software provider’s actual login page.
Victims of this scam have provided their information to cybercriminals, who then use the information to access the preparers’ accounts and steal client information.
Scammers are also posing as legitimate tax education software providers. Through email, the cybercriminals ask tax professionals for information to “revive” their preparer accounts. Their real intent is to access taxpayer information and file fraudulent returns.
One phishing email, which requests an unusually large amount of sensitive preparer information, begins, “In our database, there is a failure, we need your information about your account.” For more about this email targeting tax professionals, see Security Summit Warns of New Phishing Email Targeting Tax Pros.
How to protect yourself and your clients
Tax professionals can review tips to protect clients and themselves at Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself on IRS.gov.
If you received either of these emails, please forward a copy to email@example.com. In addition, if you provided your IRS credential information, contact the IRS’ e-Help Desk for Tax Professionals to reset your password. If you provided information and taxpayer data was stolen, contact your local IRS stakeholder liaison.
To learn how to report these emails to New York State, visit: Report scams, fraud, and identity theft.