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Tax professionals are on high alert as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its Security Summit partners promptly warn about a fraudulent email scheme targeting Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). The scam involves impersonating software companies and poses significant risks to tax preparers and their clients.

In the deceptive emails, scammers pose as legitimate tax software providers and request EFIN documents from tax professionals, claiming it is necessary for verification purposes to transmit tax returns. However, the true intention behind these requests is nefarious – scammers aim to steal sensitive client data and the identities of tax preparers, potentially leading to the filing of fraudulent tax returns and subsequent refund theft.

The IRS is taking proactive measures to combat this emerging threat by offering a series of educational webinars explicitly tailored for the tax community. These webinars, slated to begin on February 12th and continue throughout the week, will equip tax professionals with essential knowledge and defense strategies to thwart such scams.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel emphasized the importance of heightened vigilance during the tax filing season, noting, “With filing season underway, scammers use this time of year to target tax professionals as well as taxpayers in hopes of stealing information that can be used to try filing fraudulent tax returns.”

The IRS has already received numerous reports of tax professionals targeted by this scam. Critical indicators of fraudulent emails include inconsistencies in language and the presence of a German footer. Tax professionals are strongly advised to refrain from responding to such emails or taking any steps outlined.

In response to the escalating threat, the IRS offers tax professionals the opportunity to participate in special webinars led by agency cybersecurity experts. These sessions will provide critical insights and strategies to mitigate the risks posed by such scams.

Tax professionals are urged to remain vigilant against phishing scams targeting sensitive information, including EFINs, Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs), and e-services credentials. In the event of suspected data theft, tax professionals should promptly report it to the appropriate authorities, including the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and their local IRS Stakeholder Liaison.

This warning is particularly pertinent for self-employed individuals, entrepreneurs, and small businesses who may rely heavily on tax professionals for assistance with accurate and secure tax filing. By staying informed and adopting proactive measures, tax professionals can help safeguard the interests of their clients and protect against potential financial harm during this critical period.

Source (IRS News).