Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Tax Professionals At Risk For Phishing


A new email scam pretends to come from tax software providers but is really an attempt at ID Theft. The IRS is targeting the problem to protect consumers from cybercrime.

IRS cyber security experts say they have discovered an email scheme that asks tax professionals to download and install an important software update. The link then loads a program designed to track the tax professional’s key strokes.

Karen Connelly is with the IRS. She says this software is a common tactic used by cyber thieves to steal login information, passwords and other sensitive data. She says tracking the cybercriminals and stopping them is difficult.

“Sometimes the people who are doing it or perpetuating this scam are not even in our country so it’s easier to prevent it than it is to stop it and shut it down," says Connelly.

Connelly says a small number of tax professionals have reported the scam so far. But she says everybody should be aware of how to protect their identity.

“The purpose of letting everyone know this is obviously to protect themselves, not only tax professionals but individuals, too, because phishing scams are nothing new," says Connelly. "They’ve used the IRS logo and they send out very official looking emails that people have been duped into for many years, so it’s a good reminder for everyone.”

Connelly says people should not click links or open attachments on emails from unknown recipients.  She adds it's important to run computer security scans and strengthen passwords. She says people can also report suspicious activity by emailing the IRS.