Accounting News Roundup: Executive Impersonation Scams and Thankless Jobs | 09.22.16

By | 12 months ago

AICPA to the rescue

By now you've likely heard about the scam where an unsuspecting accountant receives an email from a high-ranking executive, usually a CFO, requesting a large wire transfer. The dutiful accountant doesn't want to keep the boss waiting so he or she makes the transfer toot sweet only to learn later that the executive never sent an email and that large sum of money is LONG GONE.

Believe it or not, this scam has cost companies $2 billion. This has caused the AICPA to spring into action, publishing a report "designed to better equip accountants [to] fight off" these types of cyberattacks:

The top concern for company stakeholders is that this type of cyberattack persuades employees to ignore internal controls around making payments, said Annette Stalker, chair of the AICPA’s Forensic and Litigation Services Committee, in a written statement.

“Executive impersonation bypasses the security systems that company IT departments have put in place to neutralize cyberattacks by going where companies and their employees are most vulnerable, their email systems,” she added.

The fraud report comes on the heels of two proposals, announced Monday, aimed at improving the way accountants and company managers disclose cybersecurity risk management programs. The AICPA said growing market demand for information about the effectiveness of these protective programs prompted the move.

In other words, accountants need to hold the line on their internal controls no matter what the situation is. I can see the AICPA campaign now: MAKE ACCOUNTANTS STICKLERS AGAIN!

Or something. They'll work on it.

Thankless jobs

I can think of at least one method of torture (tickle) I'd rather endure than have to listen to Congressional fatheads lecture me about my lack of omniscience and demand that I be removed from office. I suppose that's why John Koskinen is the IRS commissioner and not me. However, I can't imagine that when he took the job he would have wanted to sit through this: 

During a 3 1/2-hour hearing dominated by partisan exchanges — with Democrats aiming barbs at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump — Koskinen, 77, sought to persuade members of the House Judiciary Committee to stave off an impeachment drive by the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus. Koskinen’s appearance was arranged last week; congressional leaders promised the hearing after Freedom Caucus members backed off their demands for an immediate impeachment floor vote.

Democrats on the Judiciary panel heaped disdain on the hearing; Representative Jerrold L. Nadler of New York called it “an obvious sham.” Representative John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who serves as the Judiciary panel’s ranking member, decried “partisan attacks” that he said were “doomed to fail” because of a lack of evidence of wrongdoing.

But Republicans, including Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, said Americans are frustrated by what he called a “double standard.” If taxpayers lost tax-related documents that the IRS sought, they’d be subject to consequences, he noted. “All we’re asking is that this guy no longer hold this office,” Jordan said. “In light of this fact pattern, I think this is the least we can do.”

The only thing that would keep me in that job at this point is spite. Pure spite.

IRS phone scams

School has been back in session for several weeks now, but, as we all know, many college students make bad decisions on their first day:

Maggie Passino, 20, received a string of frantic calls on her first day of college that scared her into throwing away $1,762 in savings. She wanted to go to college, not to jail, so she paid up.

It all started with a cell phone call that she initially ignored. But others promptly followed.

"They kept calling and calling and calling until I picked up," said Passino, a freshman at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va.

The man claimed to be from the Internal Revenue Service and had her name and home address. She owed back taxes and taxes for school, he said, and she needed to pay now or be arrested.

She put $500 on three iTunes gift cards and $262 on a fourth, and…ugh. The columnist who wrote the article asks, "Why aren't we seeing more warning signs near the register saying, 'If you're putting money on a prepaid card to pay for taxes, watch out.'" Good question! Although I'd suggest replacing "watch out" with "STOP! YOU'RE BEING CONNED, DUMMY." Maybe Beta Alpha Psi can get involved with the outreach?   

Has Donald Trump released his tax returns?

Nope! But Jimmy Kimmel waved around a fake version of them and hilarity ensued. 

Previously, on Going Concern…

Greg Kyte's Exposure Drafts cartoon addressed how CPAs can achieve anything they put their minds to.

In other news:

Get the Accounting News Roundup in your inbox every weekday by signing up here.