On February 10, 2021 the IRS and its partners put out an alert on a new phishing email scam targeting tax professionals. The email claims to be from the IRS and it attempts to steal Electronic Filing Identification Numbers also known as EFINs. Electronic Filing Identification Numbers are used by tax professionals to electronically file returns, this number helps identify who they are.
The phishing email
The IRS published part of the email to warn tax professionals, here is a snippet of the phishing email.
“In order to help protect both you and your clients from unauthorized/fraudulent activities, the IRS requires that you verify all authorized e-file originators prior to transmitting returns through our system. That means we need your EFIN (e-file identification number) verification and Driver’s license before you e-file.
Please have a current PDF copy or image of your EFIN acceptance letter (5880C Letter dated within the last 12 months) or a copy of your IRS EFIN Application Summary, found at your e-Services account at IRS.gov, and Front and Back of Driver’s License emailed in order to complete the verification process. Email: (fake email address)
If your EFIN is not verified by our system, your ability to e-file will be disabled until you provide documentation showing your credentials are in good standing to e-file with the IRS.
© 2021 EFILE. All rights reserved. Trademarks
2800 E. Commerce Center Place, Tucson, AZ 85706“
What to do
Stay alert while looking at incoming emails and try your best to verify its legitimacy. The IRS has advised those who receive this phishing email to save the email as a file and send it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org and to also notify the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.tiga.gov.
Awareness is key
The IRS has also warned against other current scams that seek other tax professional information like the Preparer Tax Identification Numbers or PTINS and also e-Services username and passwords.
For more information on phishing scams and other cybersecurity topic check out Small Business, Big Threat!