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Payroll Today

And now a little something for our accountant friends

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Alice Gilman

by on
in Payroll Today

Accountants, the end is nigh. You’ll be able to put your head above water on April 19. That’s the day after your clients’ 1040s are due to the IRS. (We’re not counting filing extensions—those really mess up your post-season baseball tailgate parties, don’t they?)

The IRS wants you to know about some nefarious last-minute tax scams, especially those requesting last-minute deposit changes for refunds or account updates.

Tax scammers never quit

In the latest scam, according to the IRS, scammers pose as clients and email their accountants asking for a last-minute change to their tax refund destination. This is often to a prepaid debit card.

Best bet: Talk to your clients on the phone and confirm the information in their emails.

You should also be on the lookout for emails from your software provider that ask you to update your online accounts. If you’re required to give up sensitive data, such as passwords, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers or credit card numbers, it’s probably a scam. Don’t bite.

Vigilance is the watchword

You should change and strengthen your email passwords. Require your staff to do the same. Passwords should be a mix of upper and lowercase letters and include at least one number and symbol.

Try this: Close your eyes and type randomly. You’ll end up with a jumble of letters and numbers, which will be hard for any scammer to unwind. Write your new jumbly password down and secure it. (No sticky notes on the screen, please!)

Finally, don’t click on the “save password” feature that pops up on most websites.

If you receive suspicious emails purporting to be from a tax software provider or from the IRS, forward them to www.irs.gov/uac/report-phishing.

Remember: Never open an attachment or link from an unknown or suspicious source. It may infect your computer with malware or steal your clients’ personal information.

Also note that the IRS never sends unsolicited emails or requests sensitive data via email.

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