National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), Appleton, WI – Every year, taxpayers are bombarded with emails claiming to be from the IRS and asking for personal information. The subject titles on many of these emails suggest the IRS is trying to contact you because they have a refund for you. These are commonly referred to as phishing scams. Phishing is a term used to describe emails that are “fishing for information” and “hooking” victims. The content of these messages “lure” readers into believing that the IRS needs information from them. The Internal Revenue Service has issued several recent consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets.
These scam emails are used to trick readers into providing sensitive information. Fraudsters typically request bank information or credit card numbers so readers can “pay their tax due” or “receive their refunds”. Unsuspecting persons are now victims of identity theft.
What do you need to know to keep safe? The IRS will never request financial information, passwords, PINs, or any other sensitive information from you via email. The IRS sends paper notices to taxpayers to discuss tax account information. Never provide your bank information to someone via email!
If you ever receive one of these phishing emails, do not reply! Do not open any attachments-they might contain malicious code that could infect your computer. Also, do not click any links provided in the email. These websites could also give your computer a virus or malware. Instead, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information or examples of phishing emails, check out the IRS.gov or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website, www.ustreas.gov/tigta/.
Members of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) work at offices that assist over 11 million taxpayers with tax preparation and planning. The average NATP member has been in the tax business for over 20 years and holds a tax/financial designation and/or a college degree. NATP has more than 20,000 members nationwide. Members include individual tax preparers, enrolled agents, certified public accountants, accountants, attorneys and financial planners. As a nonprofit professional association, NATP serves professionals working in all areas of tax practice through professional tax education, tax research and tax office supplies. The national headquarters, located in Appleton, WI, employs over 50 staff members. Learn more at www.natptax.com.