It’s Income Tax Fraud Season Again

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…

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, Bob also conducts security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. Bob also teaches Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. Bob works as an instruction for CompTIA’s non-profit IT-Ready Program in the Twin Cities. IT-Ready is a tuition free 8-week program designed to teach students of all ages the fundamentals of IT support to prepare them for an entry level position in Information Technology Support. Graduates of the classes take the exams to become CompTIA A+ certified. Bob is a frequent speaker at conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. Bob has been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com
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