The Internal Revenue Service warned tax professionals on Friday, April 15, 2016, of a new emerging scam in which cybercriminals obtain remote control of preparers' computer systems, complete and file client tax returns and redirect refunds to thieves' accounts.
Although the IRS knows of a handful of cases to date, this scam has potential to impact the filing of fraudulent returns in advance of the April tax deadline and is yet another example of tax professionals being targeted by identity theft criminals. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is closely monitoring return submissions for this new scheme.
The IRS has urged all tax preparers to take the following steps:
- Run a security "deep scan" to search for viruses and malware;
- Strengthen passwords for both computer access and software access; make sure your password is a minimum of 8 digits (more is better) with a mix of numbers, letters and special characters;
- Be alert for phishing scams: do not click on links or open attachments from unknown senders;
- Educate all staff members about the dangers of phishing scams in the form of emails, texts and calls;
- Review any software that your employees use to remotely access your network and/or your IT support vendor uses to remotely troubleshoot technical problems and support your systems. Remote access software is a potential target for bad actors to gain entry and take control of a machine.
Review IRS information on
Data Thefts and Protecting Client Tax Information.
April 18, 2016
Updates were made to the code or formatting on this page as of April 18, 2016. This date does not reflect the effective date or any other date relating to the content of this page.