We’ve been sharing a lot of information about security, identity theft and protecting yourself and your customers. The first week in December was deemed as Tax Security Week in which the IRS shared articles and tips about password protection, online shopping, phishing and more. This information was not only for the tax payer, but for the tax preparer as well. Today we will take a look at recent scams that are affecting tax professionals.
Earlier this month, the IRS provided a security alert regarding a recent e-mail phishing scam targeting tax preparers. Phishing is when cybercriminals pose as someone you are familiar with to obtain sensitive information. In this scam, the thieves send an e-mail inquiry to the tax preparer posing as someone they know or a potential customer. If the tax preparer responds, the thieves will send a PDF to be downloaded. If the PDF is downloaded, the thieves will be able to gather sensitive information to include passwords and email addresses.
Tax preparers should also be on the lookout for suspicious activity. It is important to regularly monitor your EFIN to make sure no one else is using your number. Doing this will allow you to check the number of returns you completed against the number of returns filed with your EFIN.
It can be difficult to stay ahead of the ever changing scams but there are some steps you can take to make sure you are protected:
- Avoid opening emails and/or attachments that look suspicious.
- Check your computers for malware and viruses.
- Be sure to use strong passwords and update them often.
Don’t just be tax season ready, be tax season secure.