In a continuing twist on a common scam, the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and tax industry today warned tax professionals to beware of evolving phishing scams that use various pandemic-related themes to steal client data.
The Security Summit partners continue to see instances where tax professionals, especially those who engage in remote transactions, have been vulnerable this year to identity thieves posing as potential clients. The criminals then trick practitioners into opening email links or attachments that infect computer systems.
Avoiding phishing emails is the fourth in a five-part series sponsored by the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax community – working together as the Security Summit – highlighting critical steps tax professionals can take to protect client data. This year’s theme “Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft,” is an effort to urge tax professionals to work to strengthen their systems and protect client data during this pandemic and its aftermath.
“Identity thieves have been relentless in exploiting the pandemic and the resulting economic pain to trick taxpayers and tax professionals to disclose sensitive information,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Fighting back against phishing scams requires constant vigilance, and we urge tax pros to take some basic steps to help protect their clients and themselves.”
Phishing emails or SMS/texts (known as “smishing”) attempt to trick the person receiving the message into disclosing personal information such as passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. Tax pros are a common target.