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ASK THE EDD LAWYER – IRS WARNS TAX PROFESSIONALS OF NEW EMAIL PHISHING SCAM

Introduction

On June 26, 2017 the IRS issued Press Release IR-2017-11. Tax professionals and tax preparers must now be aware of a new and dangerous phishing email that purports to be from a reputable tax software education provider. The email seeks extensive client account information and documentation. The IRS does not know the source of these new cyber criminals. The IRS does not know whether they are operating in country or abroad. However, the IRS did provide a very extensive list of the information sought by these crooks. I will set this forth below.

This is scary stuff. The fake email uses the name of a real US-based preparer education firm.

Data and Information Sought

The cyber crooks seek vital and important preparer and client information such as, e-Services credentials, the Electronic Filing Information Number (EFIN), the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and their Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number.

The tax professional and tax preparer are in tough spots. The hackers purport to be a legitimate and recognized preparer education firm. What's the preparer to do? I advise going with your gut. If you are not aware of any problems with anything you have filed, electronically, don't open the email. Rather, call the preparer education firm and ask them if they are contacting you for information.

What Does This New Scam Look Like?

I am going to quote directly from the IRS Press Release, so that you know first-hand exactly what these cyber crooks will be requesting from you. Here is the text as it appears in phishing emails currently being sent to tax professionals and tax return preparers.

"In our database, there is a failure, we need your information about your account."

"In addition, we need a photo of the driver's license, send all the data to the letter. Please do it as soon as possible, this will help us to revive the account."

  • "Company Name"
  • "EServices Username"
  • "EServices Password"
  • "EServices Pin"
  • "CAF number"
  • "Answers to a secret question"
  • "EIN number"
  • "Business Name"
  • "Owner/Principal Name"
  • "Owner/Principal DOB"
  • "Owner/Principal SSN"
  • "Prior Years AGI"
  • "Mother's Maiden Name"

Conclusion

If you have received this email or anything similar to it, the IRS wants to hear from you. Forward a copy of the email to [email protected]. If you have mistakenly disclosed critical information to the scammers, contact e-Services Help Desk to reset your password.

These days it is not easy to be a competent tax professional and tax preparer. You must be ever diligent of schemes designed to extract vital client information from you. Today's motto is "Let the tax professional beware!"

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Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States. He has successfully dedicated more than 40 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments.

Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.

Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures - A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House.

Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures - A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.

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