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.