A new phishing email scam appears to be aimed at members of the American Institute of CPAs, particularly CPA tax practitioners.

The scam is a variation on the phishing messages that purport to come from the Internal Revenue Service during tax season claiming to notify taxpayers of some problem with their tax refunds. The IRS has warned taxpayers that it does not send communications via email.

In the new scam, the email appears to come from the AICPA and includes an AICPA banner and logo with the heading, “Cancellation of Public Account Status due to Income tax fraud allegations.”

The message, according to Forbes contributor Kelly Phillips Erb, who reported on the scam, is addressed to “Valued accountant officer,” and goes on to say, “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 below and respond to it within 14 days. The failure to respond within this period will result in suspension of your CPA license.”

The emails hyperlink to a so-called Complaint.doc file and appear to come from different people, but all are fraudulent.

The AICPA is advising recipients to delete the emails and said the messages did not come from the institute. Also, recipients should not click on the hyperlinks in the email as they could be exposed to malware.

“If you receive the email, delete it immediately,” said the AICPA in an alert on its Web site. “We have notified law enforcement of the incident and continue to monitor the situation.”

The email has been received by CPAs as well as non-CPAs and members of the general public, the AICPA noted.

Recipients who click on the link in the email should run a full virus scan of their computers, the AICPA advised. To speak with an AICPA member service specialist about the matter, call (888) 777-7077 and select option 1. For information on protecting again email and online fraud, visit http://www.aicpa.org/PrivacyandTerms/Pages/email-online-fraud.aspx.

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