Tax filing season is scam season for IRS impostors and hackers
This is the time when scammers and identity thieves look for ways to trick you out of money, or steal your refund by filing as you, before you get around to it.
They'll try to get you to click on a fake email that looks like it's from the IRS.
They also look for security flaws in tax preparation company computers.
The IRS addresses the problem on one of its video alerts on YouTube.
"One of the common tools used by identity thieves is a phishing email," explains Don Fort, Chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation division. "Recently, we've seen identity thieves gain access to tax professionals' computer systems, using remote access software."
If you're a tax preparer, The IRS says make sure you review IRS Publication 4557 to protection your client information.
You should also create a data security plan and make sure your computers are always protected. And educate all your employees about avoiding security breaches.
As a consumer, keep in mind that scammers are working overtime with telephone scare tactics. They claim to be with the IRS and demand immediate payment, claiming they'll call police or immigration officials and have you arrested.
Just remember, the IRS does not demand specific payment methods like pre-paid cards or wire transfers.
IRS agents do not demand payment without giving you a chance to question or appeal.
And the IRS never threatens to call police or have you arrested.
If you get such a call, hang up immediately.
To help prevent tax refund fraud, the IRS recommends filing your tax return as soon as you receive all of your 2017 documentation.
And before you let someone else do your taxes, make sure they're licensed and experienced, have a strong track record, and have updated security protection on their computers.