recommended reading

Watch Out for Last-Minute Email Tax Scams, IRS Warns

The Internal Revenue Service headquarters building in Washington.

The Internal Revenue Service headquarters building in Washington. // J. David Ake/AP File Photo

With about a month left to file, the Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers and tax preparers to be extra wary of any finance-related emails they receive.

Leading up to the April 18 due date, last-minute phishing scams—attempts to solicit sensitive personal information from recipients—are reaching their peak, the IRS warned recently.

In one such scam, criminals pose as taxpayers requesting their tax preparer change the destination of their refunds, often to a prepaid debit card. Instead of responding to any emails requesting last-minute changes like that, the IRS suggested tax preparers should confirm any major decisions about account updates with their clients verbally.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

It also recommended tax professionals change and strengthen their own account passwords; taxpayers should look out for false emails from the providers of their tax software or representatives from banks, credit card companies or even the IRS, the agency noted.

Messages asking taxpayers to update their online account with any of those groups could be fraudulent, and the IRS does not send unsolicited emails nor does it ask for sensitive data—including Social Security numbers and passwords—from taxpayers via email.

Anyone who encounters such phishing scams should forward them to phishing@irs.gov, the agency noted.

The IRS generally reminded citizens not to open attachments and links from unknown or suspicious sources because those might contain malware.

The IRS has warned about other tax-related scams recently, including one in which criminals pose as company executives asking payroll managers for internal lists of employees and their associated W-2. That information could be used to file fraudulent tax returns.

That scam is "one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement then.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.