Michael Lodge – IRS Tax Scam Update.
The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to beware of phishing email scams claiming to be from IRS e-Services and of schemes in general as the April 18 deadline nears.
Acting as the Security Summit, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry warned that this time of year is the high season for identity thieves scams to steal sensitive data from tax professionals. All tax preparers and their employees must be on guard against phishing activities.
The IRS noted a particular surge in the past 24 hours related to a phishing email scam that seeks to steal practitioners’ usernames and passwords for IRS e-Services.
The subject lines on these scam emails vary but they generally are related to e-Service account closures. Some examples include:
- Account Closure!
- e-Service Account is Blocked
- Few Hours to Close Your Account
- Your Account is Closed
- Your Account is Terminated
- 24Hrs to Block Your Account
Links in the scam email send practitioners to a fake e-Services login page where thieves can steal the user’s credentials. It is “signed” by “IRS gov e-Services.”
The thieves are keying off on IRS efforts to increase protections for e-Services, including recent IRS efforts to encourage tax professionals to revalidate their identity to avoid delays accessing their e-Services account.
E-Services account holders should beware of schemes to obtain their password information. If an account has been closed because of failure to revalidate, users should contact the e-Services Help Desk to have it reopened. Users who are in doubt about the validity of emails should never open a link or attachment, but instead go directly to https://www.irs.gov/eservices. Users also should sign up for Quick Alerts, e-News for Tax Professionals or other subscription services to receive information directly from the IRS.