cyber criminal

Cyber Criminals Posing as IRS Employees in Tax Scams

As we enter the income tax filing season, the HBK Dealership Industry Group would like to remind dealers, owners/operators of dealerships and their employees to be on the lookout for tax scams in 2018.

Cybercriminals use various techniques such as email phishing schemes (deceptive emails) and phone scams to obtain private information. This activity is typically at its peak at the beginning of the year. The purpose of these scams is to obtain and access personal information so as to have the ability to file income tax returns and fraudulently claim refunds using the victim’s identity. Often, the criminals try to intimidate a taxpayer by claiming they are government employees and asserting that a taxpayer owes the government tax money that must be paid immediately.

If you are aware of these potential scams and are vigilant in protecting against them, you are less likely to fall victim to cybercriminals. Please remember that both the IRS and state departments of revenue initiate all communication with you via the U.S. postal service. Accordingly, please be aware of these red flags if someone claiming to work for the government:

  1. Initiates a phone call or email asking for personal information;
  2. Threatens to immediately bring in local police to have you arrested;
  3. Calls or emails you to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method;
  4. Demands that taxes be paid without giving you an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed; or
  5. Asks for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Also, be aware that these criminals often alter their phone numbers in order to manipulate the caller ID system and/or use false email addresses to make it look like a governmental entity is contacting you. Although a scammer may look or sound official, be careful not to fall for a scheme.

If you suspect that you have been contacted by a scammer, you should immediately hang up on the caller or delete the email. If you have a concern, please contact a member of the HBK Dealership Industry Group at 317-886-1624 or rcollins@hbkcpa.com, the System and Organization Controls (SOC) team at 724-934-5300 or mschiavone@hbkcpa.com or the Cyber Security Team at 614-228-4000 or sfranckhauser@hbkcpa.com.

About the Author(s)

Rex is a Principal of HBK CPAs & Consultants and directs the firm’s Dealership Group. He has worked extensively in the dealership industry since 1984 as a department manager, a general manager and an owner, as well as providing tax, accounting and operational consulting services exclusively to dealers as an independent CPA.

This experience includes working closely with hundreds of dealers from coast-to-coast since 1987 on creative tax planning and financial statements issues. He provides clients with a wide range of transaction work services, and consults for them in specialty areas such as operations, government regulatory compliance, valuations and M&A feasibility studies.

Rex is active in many professional associations. He is the current Chairman of the BDO Dealership Industry Group, contributes articles and commentary to dealership industry publications, is frequently called upon to speak to industry associations and conferences, provides expert testimony, and is regularly quoted by industry and the general media.

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