Tax scams getting more sophisticated by the day

By Brian Ravencraft

I have talked in past articles about the importance of being on the lookout for tax scams. Now is a good time to revisit this topic because these scams are becoming more and more sophisticated by the day. Remember, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will never reach out to you via phone and/or email. Official communication only comes through the United States Postal Service. This is the number one reminder I can give you before moving on with the rest of this article.

At the firm where I am a principal, we help our clients identify these scams. Let us outline a recent one we helped a client navigate. The client received an email from an address that was posing as the IRS. The message contained an image resembling the IRS logo. The message said they were writing to inform the taxpayer about an important matter regarding a recent tax return filing. The email then asked the recipient to click on a PDF file attachment for more details.

Opening an attachment from an unknown source is never recommended. However, recipients that do open the pdf are greeted by another document with the IRS logo look alike image. It prompts the recipient to investigate a “Third Round of Economic Impact Payments Status.” The letter goes on to say that the recipient is entitled to a tax refund of several hundred dollars. The letter asks the recipient to click on a box within the pdf to fill out a document that will allow the IRS to process the refund.

This scam is riddled with elements the IRS would never use to communicate with a taxpayer. Email would never come into play. Email attachments with buttons taking you to forms to fill out is a huge red flag. This is just one example of many scams currently circulating. Always be vigilant and do not open any emails claiming to be the IRS. Hang up on those that call you on the phone claiming to be the IRS. Always alert your accountant to scams you become a target of. As always, if I can be of help I any way, please reach out.

Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves. You can reach Brian through www.agribusinessaccounting.com or www.HolbrookManter.com

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