The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating software providers.
The scam email comes with the subject line, “Access Locked.” It tells recipients that access to their tax prep software accounts has been “suspended due to errors in your security details.” The scam email asks the tax professional to address the issue by using an “unlock” link provided in the email.
However, the link will take the tax professional to a fake web page, where they are asked to enter their user name and password. Instead of unlocking accounts, the tax professionals actually are inadvertently providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.
The Security Summit partners remind tax professionals to never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email. These scams can increase during the tax season.
For tax professionals who receive emails purportedly from their tax software providers suggesting their accounts have been suspended, they should send those scam emails to their tax software provider. For Windows users, please this process to help the investigation of these scam emails:
- Use “Save As” to save the scam. Under “save as type” in the drop down menu, select “plain text” and save to your desk top. Do not click on any links
- Open a new email and attach this saved email as a file
- Send your new email containing the attachment your tax software provider, as well as copy Phishing@IRS.gov.
Anybody looking to access federal court records electronically has to slog through a difficult-to-use site that charges 10 cents per pageview, but a prominent nonprofit digital library says it wants to make that information available for free.
The Internet Archive told a House subcommittee this week that it wants to give the public easier access to the documents in the Public Access to Court Electronic Records service, known as PACER.
In a letter sent to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet before a hearing held Tuesday, the Internet Archive said it “would be delighted to archive and host–for free, forever, and without restriction on access to the public–all records contained in PACER.”
BY KAREN SLOAN
The deans of Yale Law School and Harvard Law School have joined the growing chorus of lawyers publicly condemning President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judiciary.
In a blistering op-ed in The Boston Globe on Friday, Harvard’s Martha Minow and Yale’s Robert Post wrote that Trump’s Twitter-delivered insults against the federal judges who stayed his controversial travel ban risk making the president “an enemy of the law and the Constitution.”
“By questioning the legitimacy and authority of judges, Trump seems perilously close to characterizing the law as simply one more enemy to be smashed into submission,” the deans wrote. “At risk are the legal practices and protections that guard our freedom and our safety from the mob violence that destroyed democracies in the 1930s.”
Trump called U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who initially stayed the travel ban, a “so-called judge” on Twitter. He then went after the appellate panel for leaving Robart’s order in place, calling their ruling “disgraceful,” among other comments. Last year, Trump accused the judge hearing a lawsuit over his Trump University of bias due to the jurist’s Mexican heritage.
Last week, American Bar Association president Linda Klein lambasted Trump’s attack on Robart in a fiery speech delivered during the organization’s midyear meeting in Miami. “There are no ‘so-called’ judges in America,” Klein said.
“There are simply judges, fair and impartial. And we must keep it that way.”
BY SAMANTHA JOSEPH
This, defense attorneys say, is a new strategy by lenders and plaintiffs lawyers: sue to foreclose on government-guaranteed home loans under various defaults, then fast-track these suits by filing motions for orders to show cause. These motions shift the burden of proof to the borrower, requiring them to appear in court and explain why a judge shouldn’t grant final judgment against them.
“All of a sudden, we saw a spate of foreclosures [on reverse mortgages] where the mortgage companies alleged the seniors no longer lived in the home,” said Gladys Gerson, supervising attorney for Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida’s senior unit. “This has been happening around the state.”
Corona admits he didn’t expect a hard fight when he first reviewed El Hassan’s case, but court records show he was wrong. Over the last 10 months, the ongoing litigation yielded two hearings, 40 docket entries and attempts by both sides to collect attorney fees.
When he first met El Hassan, Corona expected the plaintiff would realize the error and dismiss the suit. Without charging her or entering a notice of appearance, he placed a phone call to plaintiffs lawyers at Robertson Anschutz & Schneid in Boca Raton to say El Hassan had never moved out of her home.
Robertson Anschutz & Schneid did not respond to requests for comment, but court records show they ratcheted up the litigation with a motion for an order to show cause weeks after Corona’s phone call.
“I looked at the document. I couldn’t believe it,” Corona said. “I was in shock (at) what the bank was trying to do.”
VIKRAM DAVID AMAR AND MICHAEL SCHAPS
With many eyes this week on the Ninth Circuit litigation challenging President Trump’s Executive Order regulating entry into the U.S. by nationals of seven Middle Eastern and African countries, less noticed but potentially as important is a separate lawsuit (San Francisco v. Trump) the City and County of San Francisco has filed against the feds focusing on a different Executive Order the President has issued–this one seeking to rein in so-called sanctuary jurisdictions. Although the term “sanctuary” lacks universal legal meaning, San Francisco has long considered itself a sanctuary city insofar as it limits its cooperation with federal immigration authorities. San Francisco’s stated view is that its residents are safer and healthier if undocumented residents feel free to report crimes to police and to avail themselves of other public resources (e.g., health clinics and schools) without fear that local authorities are actively working with the feds in deportation efforts.
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