One of our clients, a dentist, received a disturbing email last week … from himself.
The message said that he was robbed while on vacation with his family and needed money to pay his hotel bill and to purchase plane tickets to return home. The scammers attempted to make the email appear genuine by using the dentist’s name and address. It was then sent to his entire contact list.
Fortunately, his contacts realized that the email was a scam and did not send money. However this email serves as another reminder of how persistent and clever scammers have become. For example, this particular email referenced our client’s name, business address, office phone number and even used the “DDS” distinction following his name in the signature.
Is Your Practice Safe?
Avoid becoming a scammer’s next victim. Here are a few scams you should be on the lookout for.
- The Scam: CryptoWall
What it is: A popular file encrypting program that locks your computer and your computer’s files until you pay up. Some victims have reportedly paid up to $10,000 to get their files back.
How to protect yourself: The best way to protect yourself against this is to back up your computer and files daily. You also want to be sure not to click on any links from emails that you aren’t expecting.
- The Scam: IRS Phone Scam
What it is: Victims receive a phone call from a scammer claiming to be an IRS representative. The caller threatens the victim with legal action if back taxes are not paid immediately.
How to protect yourself: Remember that the IRS will never call or email you in an attempt to collect payment. They will also never ask for your credit card or social security information over the phone. If you ever receive a call from somebody claiming to be the IRS, hang up and call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484. You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission by using the “FTC Complaint Assistant” at www.ftc.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.
- The Scam: Tax Refund Scam
What it is: If your tax return was rejected by the IRS after you filed it online, it’s likely a scammer filed a tax return using your name and social security number to get a fraudulent refund. Thousands of American taxpayers were victims of this scam last year – and there is no reason to believe that this scam is going away.
How to protect yourself: Provide your tax documents to your CPA as early as possible. The best way to ensure that your tax return is filed correctly and that your refund is distributed appropriately (if one is due), is to beat the scammers and file your return early.
Protect Yourself and Your Practice
Contact a Bright Dental CPA if you have been affected by one of these scams or want more information on how to protect yourself against these threats.
Author: Dan Bialek, CPA (Mentor office)