Products & Pricing
Online products
CD/download products
Mobile products
Self-employment taxes
Small business taxes
Compare products
TurboTax Advantage
Previous years' products
File an IRS extension
Access my downloads
Tools & Tips
Tax calculators
Tax tips & videos
Track my donations
TurboTax blog
After You File
Track my refund
Check my e-file status
Print my return
Amend my return
Access prior year returns
Go to Turbo
TurboTax Support
Frequently Asked Questions
Expert Services
How TurboTax works
Tax Reform

Tax Professionals Beware: Tax Scams Targeting You

Updated for Tax Year 2018


For tax professionals everywhere, the move from physical paperwork to digital tax filing means that client privacy and cyber security are more important than ever. And while the Internal Revenue Service takes steps to protect your information from identity theft, that doesn't mean that thieves stop trying to steal sensitive information. Watch out for scams and schemes this tax season to keep your clients' information secure.

Email Phishing Scams From Fraudulent Clients

Tax year 2018 has seen an increase in email phishing schemes aimed at tax professionals, attempting to gain access to personal information. Scammers first make contact by sending you an email that appears to come from a real client or colleague.

After you respond, the scammer sends a web address or file attachment that purportedly contains their tax info—but it’s actually malware that infects your system when you click the link or open the attachment. This can allow the scammer to steal your passwords, email addresses, and other private information that they can use to access your bank accounts or financial information.

From there, the malware can use your system to send fraudulent emails to other contacts in your address book—emails that seem like they're coming from you. Conversely, if one of your contacts is affected, you might receive the phishing email from them.

  • Watch out for attachments sent from people you don’t know, or attachments from those you do know that are sent seemingly out of the blue.
  • Use anti-virus software to check any attachments you receive via email before opening them, and talk to new prospects on the phone to get a better sense of whether they are a legitimate client or not.

Fraudulent Emails From the “IRS”

In some cases, identity thieves send phishing emails that appear to be from the Internal Revenue Service or the IRS e-services; these even include the IRS logo to lend legitimacy to the fraud. However, the IRS does not contact you via email for issues involving your account or your clients' accounts.

If you click the link and fill out the form, the scammers can use the information to access your accounts and, potentially, steal more information or money.

  • Watch out for emails with the subject line "Security Awareness for Tax Professionals" directing you to a fake e-services registration site via an embedded web link.

Fraudulent Calls From Your Electronic Return Originator

In addition to email phishing, some identity thieves are targeting tax professionals with voice phishing, or “vishing.” A common ploy is to pose as representatives from your electronic return originator, or ERO. The scammer may claim your software is corrupted or out of date, and then request remote access to your computer to update the software. Of course, they’ll actually use that remote access to take over your account and steal your information.

  • Watch out for emails that your ERO sends apparently out of the blue, especially if they claim you’re facing a security risk, and do not grant anyone remote access to your computer.
  • If you’re concerned, call your ERO to confirm your software is up-to-date and functional.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Clients

Scammers and hackers who target tax professions cook up new schemes all the time, but these best practices may help you avoid identity theft. In summary:

  • Don’t open attachments or click web links from senders you don’t recognize. If colleagues send attachments seemingly out of the blue, give them a quick call to confirm the email is legitimate.
  • Don’t fill out personal or financial information on forms you’ve accessed via a web link, even if the page looks authentic. Instead, visit the site directly—for example, go to, then search for the form you need.
  • Forward any emails that appear to be from the IRS to, then delete the email from your inbox and trash folder. The IRS does not contact you via email for issues involving your account.
  • Don’t allow unknown parties remote access to your computer based on a phone call that seems to be from your ERO. Report fraudulent calls to the IRS stakeholder liaison contact for your area.
  • Don’t access sensitive client or personal information over public Wi-Fi, like at the airport or a coffee bar, since your information may be intercepted.

For recent updates on the types of scams targeting taxpayers and tax professionals, visit the IRS page Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts.

A TurboTax solution for every situation

See which tax prep product is right for you

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

Security is built into everything we do
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return between 4/19/17 and 10/16/17 to receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 10/31/18. Activation by 12/31/17 required. Sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not purchase TurboTax Self-Employed by 10/15/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 10/31/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15.3%) for tax year 2016. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or on-screen); not included with Federal Free Edition (but available for purchase with the Plus bundle). SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. TurboTax experts provide general advice, customer service and product help; tax advice provided only by credentialed CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access, My Docs and My Analysis & Advice features: Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available until you file your 2017 tax return or through 10/31/2018, whichever comes first. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by March 13, 2017.

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.
Online Software Products
CD/Download Products
Mobile Tax Apps
Help and Support
Tax Tools and Tips
More Products from Intuit