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Cybercriminals Hit Another Tax Season Hard With Scams

Tax season can be a stressful time of year for individuals and businesses alike. Not only are they focused on filing their taxes and receiving refunds, but they are also vulnerable to various tax scams perpetrated by cybercriminals. Trustwave SpiderLabs recently identified some of the most common tax season scams and offers tips on how to stay safe during this period.


One of the most prevalent scams this season involves email phishing attacks. Trustwave's data shows that since the beginning of the year, the top two file extensions used in tax season email scams are .htm and .html, accounting for 62% of all attachments. HTML is used in scam emails because it allows cybercriminals to create realistic-looking web pages with diverse content, making it easier for them to lure people into opening malicious emails. However, HTML attachments can spread harmful software or send users to fake websites where they might be asked to share sensitive information.


To navigate tax season safely, Trustwave SpiderLabs has compiled a list of the most common tax scams to watch out for.


According to Trustwave, to avoid falling victim to tax season scams, individuals and businesses should take precautions such as verifying the sender's address and information through official channels like organization websites or direct calls. They should also practice safe clicking by avoiding links and attachments in suspicious emails, and hover their cursor over links to reveal the actual URL. It is important to recognize and resist urgency, be cautious when receiving urgent requests, and avoid sharing personal information via email, phone, or other channels unless they are sure the communication is legitimate.


When e-filing taxes, they should use a reliable tax preparation service with a history of safeguarding client data and stay informed about the latest phishing and social engineering techniques. It is also important to keep their operating system, antivirus, anti-malware, and other application software up to date to ensure protection against the latest threats. If they encounter a tax season scam or believe they have been victimized by one, they should report the incident to appropriate authorities to help prevent others from falling prey to similar schemes. By staying informed, being cautious, and following online security best practices, individuals and businesses can minimize the risk of falling victim to tax-related scams and cyberattacks.


Stay educated and updated about the latest phishing and social engineering techniques, and report suspected scams immediately to appropriate authorities.


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