Spear phishers targeting tax professionals

Posted: Updated:
(Source: CNN) (Source: CNN)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The IRS is cautioning tax professionals against spear phishing emails in their new "Don't Take the Bait' campaign.

Spear phishing emails are emails that pose as trusted sources seeking victims to voluntarily give sensitive information or have the recipient open a link or attachment that downloads malware onto their computer.

[VIDEO: 'Anglers' phishing to steal your login credentials]

Security software firm Trend Micro reports that 91 percent of all cyberattacks and resulting data breaches begin with a malignant email.

Cyber criminals targeting professionals to obtain client information is becoming more common, according to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

These emails can appear that they are coming from potential clients or the IRS, but individuals must be aware of the warning signals.

The IRS warns tax professionals to be wary of the following threats:

  • If an email contains a link, hover your cursor over it to identify the link to the web address destination.
  • Don't take an email from a familiar source at face value.
  • If the email asks you to open an attachment, or includes a threat to close your account, think twice.

To protect yourself and client against spear phishing ploys:

  • Educate employees about spear phishing
  • Use unique passwords that use a mix of letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Consider verbal confirmation by phone rather than email.
  • Use security software to defend against malware and viruses.
  • Use security options that come with tax preparation software.

If you suspect a tax-related email is a phishing ploy, send it to phishing@irs.gov.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Officers kill man with no active warrants at wrong house

    Officers kill man with no active warrants at wrong house

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 7:40 AM EDT2017-07-26 11:40:11 GMT
    (Source: Family)(Source: Family)

    Documents show that Southaven officers went to the wrong house to serve a warrant on Monday, which resulted in the shooting death of a man who did not have any active warrants out for his arrest.

    More >

    Documents show that Southaven officers went to the wrong house to serve a warrant on Monday, which resulted in the shooting death of a man who did not have any active warrants out for his arrest.

    More >
  • Records: Child's body decomposing on arrival at hospital

    Records: Child's body decomposing on arrival at hospital

    Thursday, July 27 2017 2:31 PM EDT2017-07-27 18:31:39 GMT
    (Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP).(Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP).

    The body of a 6-month-old western Michigan boy had already started to decompose by the time his mother took him to a hospital after she had basically ignored him for two days in her sweltering home with no air conditioning, according to court records.

    More >

    The body of a 6-month-old western Michigan boy had already started to decompose by the time his mother took him to a hospital after she had basically ignored him for two days in her sweltering home with no air conditioning, according to court records.

    More >
  • Thrill ride was OK'd hours before deadly state fair accident

    Thrill ride was OK'd hours before deadly state fair accident

    Friday, July 28 2017 12:53 AM EDT2017-07-28 04:53:40 GMT
    The Ohio State Fair will be open Thursday, a day after one person was killed and seven others were injured when an "aggressive thrill" ride broke apart.More >
    The Ohio State Fair will be open Thursday, a day after one person was killed and seven others were injured when an "aggressive thrill" ride broke apart.More >
  • Featured VideoMore>>

  • Family celebrates life of officer killed 10 years ago

    Family celebrates life of officer killed 10 years ago

    Friday, July 28 2017 3:19 AM EDT2017-07-28 07:19:25 GMT
    For Tiffany Cortez and her family, July 27 will always be a tough day. Ten years ago her husband and the father of her children, Phoenix Police Officer George Cortez was shot and killed on the job. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)For Tiffany Cortez and her family, July 27 will always be a tough day. Ten years ago her husband and the father of her children, Phoenix Police Officer George Cortez was shot and killed on the job. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    For Tiffany Cortez and her family, July 27 will always be a tough day. Ten years ago her husband and the father of her children, Phoenix Police Officer George Cortez was shot and killed on the job.

    More >

    For Tiffany Cortez and her family, July 27 will always be a tough day. Ten years ago her husband and the father of her children, Phoenix Police Officer George Cortez was shot and killed on the job.

    More >
  • Truck full of Christmas decorations stolen from Scottsdale store

    Truck full of Christmas decorations stolen from Scottsdale store

    Friday, July 28 2017 3:17 AM EDT2017-07-28 07:17:58 GMT
    The stolen truck was recovered, but all the contents were gone. (Source: Paul Folk)The stolen truck was recovered, but all the contents were gone. (Source: Paul Folk)

    We're months away from Christmas but it seems a Grinch has already tried to steal it. Someone ripped off a truck loaded with holiday decorations from a valley home decor shop.

    More >

    We're months away from Christmas but it seems a Grinch has already tried to steal it. Someone ripped off a truck loaded with holiday decorations from a valley home decor shop.

    More >
  • 3 On Your Side

    Valley reality TV star says she was duped for $175,000

    Valley reality TV star says she was duped for $175,000

    Friday, July 28 2017 3:17 AM EDT2017-07-28 07:17:14 GMT
    Kira Girard contacted 3 On Your Side complaining that Tom Greenwald left her home unsafe and in disrepair. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Kira Girard contacted 3 On Your Side complaining that Tom Greenwald left her home unsafe and in disrepair. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Valley reality TV star says she handed over $175,000 to remodel her home but in the end, she said the job was botched and her home was left unsafe.

    More >

    Valley reality TV star says she handed over $175,000 to remodel her home but in the end, she said the job was botched and her home was left unsafe.

    More >