Taxes can be complicated, and you may have last-minute tweaks to make as you pull together paperwork. Scammers are now taking advantage of this fact, posing as taxpayers to siphon away their annual refunds.
The Internal Revenue Service is warning tax preparers and taxpayers to be vigilant about this scam, which involves tax thieves contacting preparers before a return is processed, asking them to change the deposit information on the account. The impostors may ask to have the refunded money placed on a prepaid debit card.
To prevent this fraud, the IRS is recommending that tax preparers verbally confirm any such requests with the customer. Ideally, that confirmation is done in person, as fraudsters do sometimes know how to use a telephone.
Another version involves a taxpayer receiving an email from their tax software provider or prepare asking them to update their online account by providing the schemer with Social Security numbers, passwords, and bank account information.
The IRS reminds customers to never reply to these emails without verbally confirming information with their trusted tax preparer. Additionally, consumers should not open an attachment or link from an unknown or suspicious source, as it could contain malware.
Consumers who receive suspicious emails should report the activity to firstname.lastname@example.org.