Borrowed via Checkpoint Newsstand – Thomson Reuters post 2/7/17
The following are some recent phishing scams and myths that the IRS would like you to be aware of :
Federal Tax Highlights
Washington Alert — Part I
IRS, joined by state tax agencies and the tax industry, has issued an “urgent alert” to all employers regarding the Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) email phishing scam. (IR 2017-20) According to the agency, the phishing scam “has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits”. The W-2 scammers have been coupling their attempts to steal employee W-2 information with a scheme regarding wire transfers. As described by IRS, cybercriminals use a variety of techniques to make an email appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments and requests a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. In a new twist, the perpetrators follow up with an “executive” email to the payroll department or comptroller and ask that a wire transfer be made to a specific account. In some cases, companies have responded to this request. Noting that there has been “an upswing of [scam] reports in recent days”, IRS urged employers to immediately share this information with their payroll, finance and human resource personnel. They also should have an internal policy on the distribution of employee W-2 information and conducting wire transfers. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time”, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns.” Additional information is available at irs.gov/uac/dangerous-w-2-phishing-scam-evolving-targeting-schools-restaurants-hospitals-tribal-groups-and-others
IRS has issued tips to taxpayers that refute several “myths” pertaining to tax refunds currently circulating. (IR 2017-16) The myths included the following – all refunds are delayed; calling IRS or a tax professional will provide a better refund date; ordering a tax transcript is a “secret way” to obtain a refund date; the “Where’s My Refund” tool must be incorrect because there is no deposit date appearing; and delayed refunds for those claiming the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit will be delivered on Feb. 15. Complete details can be found at irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-answers-common-early-tax-season-refund-questions-and-addresses-surrounding-myths
IRS has commenced publishing entries to its annual list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for the 2017 filing season. (IR 2017-15) Phishing schemes now lead the newest Dirty Dozen list. As of Feb. 3, IRS published two additional entries on its list – telephone scams and identity theft. It is expected that the agency will be announcing daily additions to the list. Updated information will appear at irs.gov/uac/newsroom/dirty-dozen
If you receive any suspicious emails, phone calls, or mail, contact us at Schutte & Hilgendorf CPAs .
Schutte & Hilgendorf offers a broad range of professional accounting, tax, and audit services to individuals and businesses throughout Yavapai County and Northern Arizona. With over 40 years combined certified public accounting experience, we specialize in providing services to numerous industry specific areas, including non-profit organizations, homeowner’s associations and construction contracting. We also provide tax planning and preparation, sales tax and payroll tax return preparation, ongoing accounting/bookkeeping, live payroll, and QuickBooks setup and training (QuickBooks Proadvisors). Given our small size, we can still provide a personal touch with professional expertise. Come in and see us anytime at 2086 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, Arizona or call us at 928-778-0079.