HomeCII/OT"Schemes Targeting Small Businesses with Phishing Emails"

“Schemes Targeting Small Businesses with Phishing Emails”

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Threat actors are currently engaged in a deceptive tax phishing scheme aimed at obtaining Social Security numbers from small business owners and self-employed individuals. According to the latest information from Malwarebytes Labs, these scammers are likely utilizing a list of self-employed US residents, which can be easily acquired for a minimal cost on the Dark Web or through legitimate lead brokers.

The phishing emails sent out by these threat actors contain a link for individuals to apply for a federal employee identification number (EIN) or tax identification number necessary for filing US federal income taxes by the deadline of April 15. Once the recipient clicks on the link, they are prompted to provide detailed personal information, including their Social Security number.

The report from Malwarebytes Labs highlighted the severe implications of having a compromised Social Security number in the hands of scammers. It can significantly increase the risk of identity theft and fraud for the victim. While both EINs and tax ID numbers are issued for free by the IRS, the scammers behind this scheme are exploiting the opportunity to exploit their targets for financial gain by charging them for a service that should be free.

Pieter Arnzt, an intelligence researcher at Malwarebytes, emphasized the importance of raising awareness about these tax cyber scams to prevent their proliferation. Arnzt stressed that being informed about these fraudulent tactics can help individuals avoid falling victim to them. As the tax deadline approaches, it is crucial for individuals to stay vigilant and follow recommended steps to safeguard their personal information.

Arnzt outlined several key strategies for individuals to protect themselves from falling prey to tax cyber scams:

1. Double-check the origin of any suspicious email before taking any action.
2. Understand the rules regarding EIN applications and avoid sharing personal information over email, text, or social media.
3. Avoid reaching out to the IRS through advertisements or search results, and instead directly access their official website.
4. Verify the authenticity of the website by comparing the URL in the browser address bar with the known legitimate address.

Furthermore, Arnzt warned against making hasty decisions under pressure from scammers who often create a sense of urgency to manipulate their targets. By remaining cautious and informed, individuals can minimize the risk of being exploited by these tax phishing scams.

In conclusion, it is critical for small business owners and self-employed individuals to remain vigilant and informed about the tactics used by threat actors to compromise their personal information. By following the recommended guidelines and staying alert, individuals can better protect themselves from falling victim to these deceptive tax phishing schemes.

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