Fraudulent AICPA E-mail Targets CPAs

Anne Rosivach

A fraudulent e-mail phishing scam was sent to CPAs, non-CPAs, and the general public on July 19, 2012, accusing the recipients of tax refund fraud and threatening license suspension. The e-mails claim to be coming from the AICPA and incorporate an AICPA banner. The AICPA advises anyone who receives one of these e-mails to delete it immediately. 
 
Forbes published the text of the e-mail received by a Forbes writer, which says, in rather awkward English:
 
"Valued accountant officer,
 
We have received a complaint about your recent involvement in income tax refund fraud on behalf of one of your employers. According to AICPA Bylaw Section 765 your Certified Public Accountant status can be cancelled in case of the occurrence of filing of a false or fraudulent income tax return on the member's or a client's behalf.
 
Please find the complaint below and respond to it within 14 days. The failure to respond within this period will result in suspension of your CPA license."
 

Suspicious IRS-Related E-mails

If you or your clients receive an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information:

  • Do not reply.
  • Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Do not click on any links.
  • If you clicked on links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit our identity protection page.
  • Forward the e-mail as-is, to us at phishing@irs.gov.
  • Do not forward scanned images of printed e-mails as that strips the e-mail of valuable information only available in the electronic copy.
  • After you forward the e-mail and/or header information to us, delete the original e-mail message you received.
IRS
A complaint.doc, which is actually a link, is attached. Don't click on it. It leads to websites that harbor malware, according to hoax-slayer.com.
 
The AICPA advises anyone who clicked on the link to run a full virus scan of their system. 
 
The e-mails were sent from three different people, Forbes reported. Forbes also points out that "while the AICPA is the world's largest association representing the accounting profession, it would not be the first line of communication about suspected tax fraud: that would be IRS and they would not contact you via e-mail." 
 
The AICPA has notified law enforcement of the incident and continues to monitor the situation. 
 
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