The IRS issued a warning Thursday urging tax professionals to look out for emails from senders pretending to be tax software companies.
The IRS claims these emails trick people into giving up sensitive information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers, to facilitate unnecessary payments.
The emails come in the form of an .exe file disguised as a software update. What’s really embedded in the program is a keylogger, which allows criminals to track keystrokes.
The announcement comes as part of a campaign in which the tax collection agency is trying to decrease the amount of identity theft tied to tax returns.
Identity theft has been an ongoing problem for the IRS. Earlier this year, the IRS shut down its e-File PIN system — a tool used to verify taxpayers’ identities after filing returns — after hackers used an ‘automated bot attack program’ to access more than 100,000 returns.
In 2015, hackers accessed the information of 320,000 taxpayers, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, tax filing statuses and street addresses, via IRS’ “Get Transcript” application.
IRS saw a similar phishing attempt targeted at individual taxpayers in February.