IRS Issues New Email Schemes Targeting Tax Professionals | IR-2017-03

January 11, 2017 The IRS issued information of a new variation of phishing scheme that is targeting accounting and tax preparation firms. 

These schemes are set up to collect sensitive client information which will allow the fraudsters to then prepare fake tax returns.

The latest emails typically have two parts.

1. Tax preparation solicitation: The emails are asking tax professionals things like, "I need a prepare to file my taxes. can you help me?" If the tax preparer responds, a second email is then sent.

2. Data collection and hacking: The second email will either have an embedded web address for you to click or contain an attached PDF, word document or excel document. This document contains the embedded web address.

TIP: You can hover your mouse pointer over the url provided or the attachment to reveal the link's true address. If it is not one that you recognize, do not click it. It will normally not end in ".com" or it could be a shortened url, which is a method used to shorten or hide the location of the true destination of the link.

Typically the emails appear to be from a legitimate client or organization. Chances are they have been victimized and have at one time or another had their accounts taken over by fraudsters. The emails do a very good job at masking the deception. The fraudsters will use any method possible to get you to click on their link or attachment.

The IRS has urged tax professionals to scrutinize each email and consider creating internal policies on how to address these types of emails seeking service.

For more details we have included the link to the IRS' "Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself"

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