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Scammers Target U.S. Tax Professionals

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning that identity thieves are actively targeting U.S. tax preparation professionals in a series of phishing scams that attempt to steal Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINSs). The attackers started this campaign right before tax season with the end goal of stealing client data and tax preparers’ identities. Once the attacker has that information, they are capable of filing false tax refunds for refunds by impersonating the targeted professionals. The attackers’ email uses IRS Tax E-Filing as the sender name and “Verifying your EFIN before e-filing” subject line. The body of the email wants the recipient to provide them with a copy of the preparer’s EFIN acceptance letter and a copy of their driver’s license. The email states that if they do not receive the information, the user’s ability to e-file will be disabled. In the IRS alert, they include “Tax professionals also should be aware of other common phishing scams that seek EFINs, Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) or e-Services usernames and passwords, some thieves also pose as potential clients, and especially effective scam currently because there are so many remote transactions during the pandemic. The thief may interact repeatedly with a tax professional and then send an email with an attachment that claims to be their tax information.”

Analyst Notes

Recipients of these messages are advised not to respond to these emails and to send the email to the official IRS reporting address which is [email protected]. This scam and any others that may arise should be reported to the IRS for further investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation division. Companies that provide tax preparation should distribute the alert to all of their employees to educate them latest scams and how to defend from them.

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