Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a warning in a press release to American tax payers asking them to be aware of tax time phishing scams.
Run by cybercriminals, phishing scams are attempts to collect Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, banking and financial information and other sensitive data from people by pretending to work for the IRS and sending bogus emails that look just like the real thing.
The IRS flatly states, "The IRS does not send unsolicited email about tax account matters to individual, business, tax-exempt or other taxpayers."
Here’s the type of online scams to look out for:
- The Refund Email – a message that appears to be from the IRS advising the recipient that he is eligible for a refund and to complete an online form that asks for personal financial information. The personal data is then used by con artists to access bank and/or credit card accounts.
- The Audit Email – a message that also appears to be from the IRS but instead of offering the good news of a refund, it leads a recipient into providing personal financial information via online forms out of fear of being audited. Again, the personal data is used by cybercriminals to steal identities and raid financial accounts.
- The Change to Tax Law Email – another fake message from the IRS that targets businesses and accounting departments and asks them to download changes to tax laws, but is really malware that infects the recipient’s PC and gives remote access to hackers who can then gather passwords and key information.
If you want to visit the IRS web site to learn more, be sure to type in www.irs.gov. Never click on a link embedded in an email or instant message. You could be misdirected to a spoof site that looks exactly the real IRS site.
McAfee security products identify phishing web sites to help keep subscribers from falling victim to identity theft and financial loss.