This article was last updated on May 30, 2018.
Security Summit and the IRS are warning tax professionals to be aware of a phishing email circulating that is attempting to steal email usernames and passwords. Tax Professionals currently known to be targeted in this scam reside in Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, and North Carolina. However, all tax professionals should be alert.
If you receive an email similar to the one below, do not open or click any links inside the email:
The email states:
“We kindly request that you follow this link HERE and sign in with your email to view this information from (name of accounting association) to all active members. This announcement has been updated for your kind information through our secure information sharing portal which is linked to your email server.”
Identity thieves are constantly searching for any data they can find to help them file fraudulent Federal and State tax returns.
These scams include things such as:
- Urging tax professionals to set up security for filing schemas
- Prompting tax professionals to ‘unlock’ their tax program
- Emails that mimic tax software providers
- Asking tax preparers to update their IRS e-services information
You can protect yourself, and your client.
- Don’t open emails from addresses you don’t recognize. Scammers will use logos and graphics to try and mimic a company or business that you are familiar with. Pay attention to the email address. Is it one that has emailed you before?
- The IRS won’t contact you via email. The IRS will always send a letter when they need to contact you. If you receive an email (or phone call) from the ‘IRS,’ it is most likely a scam.
- Scan your computer for viruses and malware. It is wise for you to have year-round anti-virus and anti-malware protection on your computer. We understand life happens and sometimes you forget to renew the service. By running a scan on your computer, you can find anything that may have slipped through the cracks.
- Educate yourself. The best way for you to be prepared is to educate yourself on the warning signs to look out for and how to tell a scam from a genuine email.