IRS Warns Tax Professionals of New and Evolving Scams Involving AI, Phishing Attacks

‘We continue to see tax professionals bombarded by these scams, and people shouldn’t let their defenses down,’ IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said.
IRS Warns Tax Professionals of New and Evolving Scams Involving AI, Phishing Attacks
IRS headquarters in Washington on March 25, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Katabella Roberts
Updated:
0:00

The IRS is warning tax professionals to be vigilant about “new and evolving schemes” that use phishing emails and artificial intelligence (AI) to steal sensitive information.

The agency urged tax professionals to be on the lookout for a wave of scams “hitting taxpayers with frequency,” including those in which criminals use AI to gain access to Social Security numbers, birth dates, and banking information from victims.

In such cases, identity thieves are using AI to produce fake IRS letters that are then emailed to unsuspecting victims, the agency said.

Social media scams in which scammers share inaccurate or misleading tax information regarding tax credits are on the rise, as are fake phone calls in which criminals promise victims they can wipe out a tax debt, the agency said.

“Tax professionals need to be on the lookout to avoid falling prey to these attacks, which threaten not just their clients but their businesses,” the agency said in a July 9 statement.

According to the IRS, criminals are also posing as new clients through phishing emails that trick tax professionals into sharing sensitive data.

Under such schemes, fraudsters pretend to be real taxpayers asking for help with their taxes. They then send a malicious attachment or include a link to a site in the email that will allow them to collect sensitive information, such as the tax professional’s email and password, or gain access to a practitioner’s client data, the IRS said.

Although the scam is not new, the agency said such phishing scams continue to remain a threat and generally peak around tax season.

The agency said another large-scale phishing scam circulating this year involves criminals attempting to obtain various identification numbers used by tax professionals, including their electronic filing identification number (EFIN), EFIN documents, preparer tax identification number (PTIN), and centralized authorization file (CAF) number. In one such scheme, scammers may ask the person to “confirm” his or her information by entering it into a form on a fake website.

“Thieves have upped their game by targeting tax professionals to get valuable information needed to file authentic-looking tax returns,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. “Tax professionals need to watch out for deviously clever scams that can masquerade as new clients as well as communications from the IRS or others in the tax community. We continue to see tax professionals bombarded by these scams, and people shouldn’t let their defenses down.”

In May, the IRS warned that thousands of American taxpayers who fell victim to online tax scams could face fines of up to $5,000.

In issuing that warning, the agency noted that individuals who are charged with filing a false tax return risk could face up to three years in jail and a $100,000 fine.

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.