With the 2024 filing season right around the corner, the IRS is alerting tax professionals about a new round of email schemes in which cybercriminals pose as potential clients looking for tax help.
Previously, the IRS has seen a surge in these “new client” scams during tax season where identity thieves target accounting and tax preparation firms with fake emails. In these scams, fraudsters pretend to be actual taxpayers seeking help with their taxes and use emails to try to obtain sensitive information or gain access to tax professionals’ client data.
“These intricate email scams pose a real risk to tax professionals and the taxpayers they represent,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement on Jan. 9. “Cybercriminals try to capitalize on tax season by masquerading as real taxpayers looking for help. What they really want to do is help themselves to the sensitive client data of tax professionals. We urge tax professionals and their employees to be extra cautious when receiving unexpected email solicitations and avoid clicking on links or opening attachments.”
The objective of the new client email scam is to steal sensitive personal information that will allow fraudsters to prepare authentic-looking tax returns to collect a refund—or use it to commit other types of fraud.
The IRS provided an example of what the current new client scam looks like:
Subject: 2024 Tax Submission
My name is (name can vary), I am searching for…