The IRS is sounding the alarm about the top 12 – aka the “dirty dozen” – tax scams that are tripping up businesses, tax professionals and individual taxpayers this spring.
The dirty dozen changes every year as cybercriminals come up with new ways to acquire businesses’ and individuals’ data, be it their Social Security numbers, bank routing info and other sensitive finance data.
Without further ado, here are a few of the most serious threats from the agency’s dirty dozen for 2023:
‘Don’t click on that!’
- Employee Retention Credit (ERC) offers: Beware of Internet ads promising large refunds via the ERC. Crooks are after Tax Identification Numbers to commit identity theft.
- Phishing and smishing: Unsolicted email (phishing) and texts (smishing) are ALWAYS a bad sign. The IRS and state tax agencies send snail mail first if there’s a problem or if they need more info regarding a tax filing. Offers of “tax help” via email and text should be deleted immediately.
- Online account help from third-parties: Swindlers are posing as “helpful” third parties to assist with creating an online account at IRS.gov. Truth is, no outside help is ever needed to do that. You can create an online account yourself at IRS.gov. All the instructions needed are at the website.
- Bogus charities: A perennial problem that gets bigger whenever a crisis or natural disaster strikes. A simple search online can help determine if an organization’s on the up and up. Again: Don’t click on communications from a charity unless you’re sure it’s legit.
- Crooked tax return preparers: Common tip-offs are asking for a fee based on the size of a tax return. Employees preparing their taxes at the last minute may benefit from a heads up.
- Spearfishing: Never heard of it? That’s probably because your business hasn’t been targeted – yet. Spearphishing is one or more legitimate-looking requests for access to data or a computer system. And spearphishers are going after tax professionals with a vengeance this year.