IRS warns tax professionals of another email phishing scam

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

The IRS warned tax practitioners in an "urgent alert" that, in another brazen attempt to target tax professionals, scammers are sending fraudulent phishing emails asking practitioners to update their IRS e-services information. The emails claim that information was stolen from certain users' e-services accounts in 2015, and that their accounts need to be updated to ensure their information is protected (IR-2016-145).

The subject line for the fraudulent email is "Security Awareness for Tax Professionals," and the "From" line says, "Your e-services team." The email has an IRS logo and an e-services logo, which links to a spoofing website that purports to be an e-services registration page. The scammers are attempting to steal usernames and passwords and other personal data and are also exploiting the IRS's current program of attempting to strengthen tax professionals' e-services authentication process.

Practitioners who have mistakenly clicked on the email and provided their usernames and passwords, should contact the e-services help desk to reset their accounts. If they use the same information for other accounts, those should be changed as well. The IRS recommended that those practitioners perform a deep security scan on their computers and reevaluate their security controls.

The IRS also advised tax professionals to use effective security software, encrypt taxpayer data, use strong passwords and change them often, learn to recognize phishing emails, not click on links or download attachments from suspicious emails, and be wary of unusual IRS communications.

Sally P. Schreiber (sschreiber@aicpa.org) is a JofA senior editor.

SPONSORED REPORT

Scorecard preparation templates and tips

With Workiva, we've created a PowerPoint deck that helps you create your own scorecards -- quick reference reports used across organizations to update stakeholders on the performance of defined deliverables.

100th ANNIVERSARY

Black CPA Centennial, 1921–2021

With 2021 marking the 100th anniversary of the first Black licensed CPA in the United States, a yearlong campaign kicked off to recognize the nation’s Black CPAs and encourage greater progress in diversity, inclusion, and equity in the CPA profession.