Do you know who’s calling? Don’t become a victim of an IRS phone scam – In a recent news release, IR-2016-14, published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on February 2, 2016, the IRS continues to warn of phone scams that remain a serious threat to taxpayers.
Based on January reports, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced there were around 896,000 contacts since October 2013, and 5,000 victims who have lost over $26.5 million as a result of the scam.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to be cautious of phone scams by criminals impersonating IRS agents especially during the upcoming tax filing season.
The IRS advises taxpayers of the following tactics often used by criminals, which the IRS will NEVER use. Tactics include:
Additionally, the IRS recommends the following:
For more information and individual questions, feel free to call the Aronson Tax Team at 301-231-6200.
For some, the term “dirty dozen” may bring to mind the World War II action movie, or the Environmental Working Group’s list of the fruits with the highest pesticide concentration, but it means something very different to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Each year, the IRS releases a list of their “dirty dozen” – the twelve most prevalent tax scams affecting the nation’s taxpayers.
The IRS creates this list to raise awareness of the various types of schemes that may affect taxpayers’ returns, and to offer guidance on steps that can be taken to help prevent falling victim. Many of these scams involve criminals preying on Americans’ fear of both the IRS and of making an error on their tax return, or their desire for a greater refund or smaller tax bill.
Whether you have already filed your 2014 tax returns or not, you should be on the lookout for these scams so that you do not fall victim. Ultimately, as the taxpayer, you are responsible for what is on your return regardless of who prepares it.
In the next few months, Aronson’s tax advocacy experts will be releasing more in-depth blogs regarding some of these tax scams. However, if you are concerned you have fallen victim to one of these scams or want further information on the dirty dozen, please contact Patrick M. Deane, JD, MBA, LLM or Laurence C. Rubin, CPA at 301.231.6200.
For the past few years, the IRS has issued a list of the twelve most pervasive tax scams, dubbed the “Dirty Dozen.” Through 2014, the list has been issued in one release. For 2015, the IRS has decided to release one issue at a time over 12 days, to raise awareness.
Most items on the 2014 list will be making a return; indeed, phone scams, phishing, and ID theft continue to make the list. New for 2015 is return preparer fraud, which has become a serious problem both for the IRS and for taxpayers, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue and big headaches for taxpayers who have fallen victim.
Even the most aware and diligent people get taken in by various tax scams. When in doubt, contact a trusted tax professional before taking any action. For further information on the IRS Dirty Dozen or to discuss your specific situation, please contact your Aronson tax advisor at 301.231.6200.
There are many forms of cybercrime that can affect a small-to-medium-sized business. The AICPA recently released a study of the top five cybercrimes in virtual environments. They include:
While all are to be taken seriously and need to be considered, corporate account takeover and theft of sensitive data are particularly important concerns for businesses.
In a corporate account takeover, network login credentials are taken in order to gain unauthorized access to corporate functions (such as banking). Transactions can then be made by the criminal, which appear totally legitimate.
With theft of sensitive data, a cybercriminal gains access to a company’s private data for their own use. The most common examples of this type of theft include credit card numbers, social security information, trade secrets, or other personally identifiable information. Often, a security breach is not found until after long after the breach, allowing further intrusion with the passage of time. Small-to-medium-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable to both of these threats due to fewer controls in place and less attention paid to information security.
Some of the strongest weapons (as ranked by the Computer Security Institute) against cybersecurity vulnerabilities are security audits and control reviews, adequate business insurance, and strong incident response plans. A security audit can identify the major risks and help determine the proper preventive controls to put in place. The development of an incident response plan and determination of how an entity deals with a cybercrime can provide additional insight into possible vulnerabilities. These threats can also be remedied through proper control and policy development.
If you have any questions regarding your company’s cybersecurity or other IT policy questions, please contact Jeff Cook of Aronson’s IT Audit and Advisory Services Group at 301.231.6220.