News

07-10-2017

IRS Newsroom: Security Summit Launches Education Campaign for Tax Pros

Security Summit Launches Education Campaign Aimed at Tax Pros; Warns Against Phishing Epidemic with "Don't Take the Bait" series

IR-2017-117, July 6,2017

WASHINGTON -- The IRS today warned tax professionals to increase their computer security and to beware of their inbox – specifically the successful email scams dubbed spear phishing that identify themselves as a friend, customer or company.

As part of the Security Summit effort, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry next week will kick off another series in the Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself campaign called "Don't Take the Bait." It's critical that tax professionals remember they have not just an obligation but a legal requirement under federal law to protect taxpayer information

“We continue to see new and evolving threats involving data breaches, intrusions and various takeovers that put people’s personal information at risk,” said John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner. “These efforts are increasingly targeting tax professionals and businesses with tax information. Too many still overlook basic security steps needed to protect their data. As part of this, we urge the tax professional community: Beware your inbox. Don’t take the bait from these phishing scams.”

Phishing scams use bait or lures to trick preparers into opening an infected link or attachment or disclosing usernames and passwords to critical accounts. Falling for the phishing bait means exposing taxpayer data to theft. Thieves also are interested in stealing preparers’ e-Services passwords, Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs), Centralized Authorization File (CAF) numbers and Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs.)

Visit the IRS Newsroom to read the full news release.

02-17-2017

IRS Newswire: Security Summit Alert: Warning for Tax Professionals

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating software providers.

The scam email comes with the subject line, "Access Locked." It tells recipients that access to their tax prep software accounts has been "suspended due to errors in your security details." The scam email asks the tax professional to address the issue by using an "unlock" link provided in the email.

However, the link will take the tax professional to a fake web page, where they are asked to enter their user name and password. Instead of unlocking accounts, the tax professionals actually are inadvertently providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers' accounts and to steal client information.

The Security Summit partners, which includes the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation's tax community, remind tax professionals and taxpayers to never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email. These scams can increase during the tax season.

Tax professionals can review additional tips to protect clients and themselves at the Security Summit's awareness campaign, Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself on IRS.gov.

For tax professionals who receive emails purportedly from their tax software providers suggesting their accounts have been suspended, they should send those scam emails to their tax software provider. For Windows users, please this process to help the investigation of these scam emails:

  1. Use "Save As" to save the scam. Under "save as type" in the drop down menu, select "plain text" and save to your desk top. Do not click on any links.
  2. Open a new email and attach this saved email as a file.
  3. Send your new email containing the attachment your tax software provider, as well as copy Phishing@IRS.gov.




IRS Newswire -- Issue Number: IR-2017-39 February 17,2017

02-10-2017

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