The IRS warned tax preparers and other tax professionals to be on guard against bogus emails seeking updated personal or professional information that in reality are phishing schemes.

"I urge taxpayers to be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. "They may be scams to steal your personal information."

The email asks tax professionals to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers, or EFINs. The links provided in the bogus email to access IRS e-services appear to be a phishing scheme designed to capture your username and password. However, the email was not generated by the IRS e-services program. The IRS warned tax professionals to disregard the email and not to click on the links provided.

Phishing is a scam typically carried out with the help of unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site to lure in potential victims and prompt them to provide valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, a criminal can commit identity theft or financial theft.

The IRS noted that it generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS asked tax professionals who receive an unsolicited email that appears to come from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, to report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS pointed out that it has strengthened the protections in its processing systems this filing season to protect taxpayers and said it continues to make progress in stopping identity theft and other fraudulent refunds.

Michael Cohn is the Editor-in-Chief of AccountingToday.com.

 

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