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.


  • Featured VideoMore>>

  • 'Hurricane Harvey' dog found at Maricopa County shelter

    'Hurricane Harvey' dog found at Maricopa County shelter

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 10:27 PM EDT2017-09-21 02:27:43 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Less than 36 hours after being adopted, a “Hurricane Harvey” dog was turned into a local shelter.

    More >

    Less than 36 hours after being adopted, a “Hurricane Harvey” dog was turned into a local shelter.

    More >
  • Ducey doubles down on healthcare bill without knowing details

    Ducey doubles down on healthcare bill without knowing details

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 10:03 PM EDT2017-09-21 02:03:08 GMT
    Gov. Doug Ducey doubled down on his endorsement the of the latest effort in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though he doesn't know the full impact it will have on Arizona. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Gov. Doug Ducey doubled down on his endorsement the of the latest effort in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though he doesn't know the full impact it will have on Arizona. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Never mind the details. Gov. Doug Ducey doubled down on his endorsement the of the latest effort in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though he doesn't know the full impact it will have on Arizona.

    More >

    Never mind the details. Gov. Doug Ducey doubled down on his endorsement the of the latest effort in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though he doesn't know the full impact it will have on Arizona.

    More >
  • Thieves steal art from downtown Phoenix bar

    Thieves steal art from downtown Phoenix bar

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 9:51 PM EDT2017-09-21 01:51:42 GMT
    A man and a woman stole a piece of art from Bitter & Twisted. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)A man and a woman stole a piece of art from Bitter & Twisted. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    A man and a woman stole a painting from a popular downtown Phoenix with the woman trying to stash it up her skirt.

    More >

    A man and a woman stole a painting from a popular downtown Phoenix with the woman trying to stash it up her skirt.

    More >