Scam Claims Your Tax Preparer Was Breached

We heard about a new twist all the Income Tax refund scam that is popular with cyber-criminals this time of year.  A March 27th email from the Minnesota Society of CPAs, warns about a scam that is appearing on the east coast, but could spread anywhere in the US.

“…the email scam claims a tax preparer has been victimized [or breached] and asks users to open a PDF attachment, claiming to be a secured file. The file has a hyperlink which, if clicked, directs users to a phishing site requesting your email address and password.”

So be on guard for emails claiming to be from a state CPA association about your tax preparer.  It is always best to confirm these sorts of claims with a phone call or a quick online search for information.

It is best to avoid using provided links in any email, this will prevent you from ending up on a clever replica page giving up your email address and password or other personal information.  One way to check the validity of the link is to hover over the link until the tool tip box opens (about 5 seconds).  Then you can see the actual destination and determine if it seems legitimate.  Another method is to right click on the link and copy it. Then go to VirusTotal.com and paste it into the URL checker.  If the link is affiliated with a phishing scam, VirusTotal will identify it as dangerous.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Serving small business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area since 2001. Cybersecurity and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. I hold several cybersecurity certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Advanced Security Pratitioner (CASP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Other computer industry certifications include A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of security on their computers, networks, and websites. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. I am a frequent speakers at cybersecurity conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference, the (ISC)2 World Congress, and the ISSA International Conference, and many local community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2008.

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