- Taxpayers have been observed to be a popular target for cyberattacks.
- Most scams impersonate IRS officials to convince victims into giving them funds or sensitive information.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top scams that are launched against the taxpayers.
Emails pretending to be from the IRS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a warning about a scam impersonating the IRS to deliver malware. The campaign involves spoofed emails with subjects such as ‘Automatic Income Tax Reminder’ or ‘Electronic Tax Return Reminder’. The email contains a one-time password to access files for submitting a refund. Entering the password causes malicious software to be downloaded to the victim’s system.
Another campaign pretending to be from the IRS lured victims with a message saying they were eligible for tax returns. It actually delivered the Amadey botnet that installed itself when the victim downloaded a file. The email asked the victim to download the file, sign it, and mail it back or upload it to avail the tax refund.
Hackers pretending to be IRS officials call potential victims after making their caller ID display as the IRS. They tend to scare victims with arrest warrants or fraud charges and demand immediate payment.
In certain cases, they may try to get the victim’s sensitive information including the Social Security Number. Crooks may also file fake returns using this information and steal tax refunds.
A number of ‘ghost preparers’ scams have also been reported with the preparer collecting sensitive information and disappearing with it. This may also involve attackers pretending to be legitimate tax preparers.
What can you do?
It is important to keep in mind that the IRS will never:
- Call and demand immediate payment using a specific payment method.
- Ask for payment card numbers over the phone.
- Call with the details of an unexpected refund.
The IRS usually sends an email about pending taxes. If you think you are a victim of a tax scam, get in touch with the IRS as soon as possible.