The key to stopping scammers is staying one step ahead of the bad guys. That's why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), together with state tax agencies and tax industry partners, are warning tax professionals about a new scam this tax season. As part of the scam, cybercriminals are posing as clients soliciting services from tax professionals.
If that sounds tricky, it is. Here's how the scheme works. First, the tax professional receives what looks like a real solicitation from a potential client. The scammer typically starts out with something innocuous like "I need a preparer to file my taxes." If the tax professional responds to the email, the scammer follows up with a second email. That email typically has either an embedded web address or contains an attachment which the scammers allege contains the potential client's tax information. When the tax professional clicks on the link or downloads the attachment, the scammers then collect the tax professional's email address, password, and other private information.