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.
About the Author:I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 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. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com