Every year about this time, cyber-criminal groups start to ramp up for the annual income tax fraud season. If you would prefer to receive your own tax refund, as opposed to letting some scam artist get it instead, the basic solution is to file your returns as early as possible. Here are some things to be watching for.
- W-2 reports phishing scam – This phishing scan usually targets company HR department personnel, with individually crafted emails that come from the hijacked business email account of a company officer, or sometimes of your tax accountant. Be wary of any requests for W-2 information that fall outside of the norm for your company.
- Your accountant is hacked – If your tax preparer’s computer is compromised, or his or her email account hijacked, they your tax information is available to cyber-scammers.
- Your accountant is NOT hacked – In this scam, you get an email from an accounting professional group that claims your accountant was one of many who were compromised. The phishing email is a scam designed to get you to click through to a web page that requests your personal information.
- You filed too late – When you file your taxes electronically, and the tax system says that your taxes have already been filed, then the criminals got there ahead of you, and filed for as big a refund as they could get. Your tax filings will be wrong, of course. When this happens you have to open a claim with the IRS, and file an amended report.
Tax Scam Reports from Last Year
The methods may change slightly, but every year its the same scam. Here are links to my previous reports on this issue
- Income Taxes – File Early to Beat the Hacker
The early bird gets the worm. The second mouse gets the cheese. The late tax filer gets nothing. Why? April is tax fraud time. The best way to avoid losing your tax refund to a scammer is to file as early as possible, before the tax fraudster can get it done. Having said that, this infor…
- 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 …
02/21/2018 06:31 PM EST Original release date: February 21, 2018
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued an alert on the increase in W-2-related phishing campaigns. Fraudsters often use tax-related phishing emails to get victims to provide personally identifiable information, click on a malicious link, or pay a ransom.
NCCIC/US-CERT encourages taxpayers to review the IC3 Alert and refer to the NCCIC/US-CERT Tip on Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information. If you believe you have been a victim of a phishing campaign, report it to IC3 at www.ic3.gov
- W-2 Phishing Scam Adds a New Twist to Wire Transfer Fraud – Crowdstrike
- When Identity Thieves Hack Your Accountant – Exploit This