Taking back the ID

Beware tax preparer and charity scams, plus unemployment insurance benefits fraud

Fraudsters continue to harvest PII by targeting professional tax preparers, compassionate givers and COVID unemployment insurance benefits money.

Susie Winston, a professional tax preparer, received this email:

Your account has now been put on hold.

ALL preparers are required to apply security feature to their Tax Pro account towards 2021 Tax Returns processing.

You have failed to apply new update before expiry date

You are restore and update your acc|ount immediately.

Please Click Here to update your acc|ount now.


Failure to update your account within the next 24hours will lead to your account being terminated and be barred from filing tax returns claims for 2021 tax season Your access will be restored once you have updated your details.


IRS.gov eServices

Despite poor syntax, grammar and spacing in the email, a legitimate IRS logo persuaded Winston to click “Please Click Here,” which, of course, allowed cybercriminals to download malware that stole her clients’ personally identifiable information (PII).

The case is fictional, but according to the IRS, cyberfraudsters have used the email to steal the identities of clients and file fraudulent tax returns for refunds. (See “Latest spear phishing scams target tax professionals,” IRS, Feb. 16, 2022.) 

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