The Internal Revenue Service warns tax professionals about scammers using fake emails to gather sensitive information. According to them, reports have shown that a new phishing email is going around under the guise of a tax software update.
“This sophisticated scam yet again displays cybercriminals’ tax savvy and underscores the need for tax professionals to take strong security measures to protect their clients and protect their business,” said IRS.
Representatives of the IRS made this statement during the Security Summit last August 4, 2017. The scammer’s main targets are tax professionals who are in the rush to beat the September tax return due date, and those who are about to file for an extension in October.
Phishing emails are fake emails that look almost the same as a legitimate email that may come from a known or used company. The purpose of it is to redirect victims to fake websites which would prompt them to enter vital information.
The phishing email going around is said to contain a message that informs the victim that there are discrepancies regarding their account on a tax accounting software. Some versions also fool the victim into thinking that an update on the software needs that they enter their usernames or passwords.
Scammers steal these credentials for various purposes. Some of the use it to steal money, steal corporate secrets, for identity theft, or corporate sabotage.
The IRS warns professionals to be extra cautious these days as the fake update emails were made to coincide with the timing of the real update emails sent by true accounting software providers. They advise everyone to be very vigilant and cautious in clicking any links inserted in the email.
Another advice they had on people is that no legitimate company would ever ask for sensitive information- like usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or verification email addresses- through email. Professionals should also avoid sending their credentials to strangers.
A similar phishing scam was reported last June when emails made by scammers introduced themselves as tax educators. If you have been victimized by these kinds of mail, or have received one, immediately contact IRS through their email address email@example.com.