Home Security Architecture Tax season scammers outsmart filers, warns Microsoft – The Register

Tax season scammers outsmart filers, warns Microsoft – The Register

Tax season scammers outsmart filers, warns Microsoft – The Register

In a recent tax season phishing scam uncovered by Microsoft in January 2024, cybercriminals have once again targeted unsuspecting individuals with a crafty email campaign. The scam involved sending emails containing what appeared to be employees’ tax returns, with an attachment that redirected users to a fake website designed to steal personal information.

The email campaign used a social engineering technique by presenting a blurred document that enticed users to click on a “download documents” button. Once clicked, malware was installed on the victim’s device, allowing cybercriminals to steal account credentials. Microsoft highlighted the dangers of falling for phishing attacks, warning of leaked confidential information, infected networks, financial demands, corrupted data, and other potential consequences.

While tax scams are nothing new, cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target vulnerable individuals, including the use of AI-generated emails and deepfake images to create convincing scams. Microsoft warns that these tactics increase the likelihood of stealing high-value data from millions of stressed and distracted individuals and businesses, especially those who may be less informed about IRS engagement methods.

To avoid falling victim to these phishing scams, Microsoft recommends being cautious of emails purporting to be from legitimate processors or the IRS, as well as verifying the sender’s contact information and avoiding clicking on unexpected links. The IRS also advises taxpayers to be wary of any communication requesting personal or financial information, as they do not initiate contact via email, text messages, or social media channels.

In addition to being vigilant about email scams, Microsoft suggests turning on multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security to accounts. By taking these precautions and staying informed about common phishing tactics, individuals can protect themselves from falling prey to these malicious schemes.

As tax season continues, it is essential for individuals, especially first-time filers and older taxpayers, to remain cautious and skeptical of any unsolicited communications regarding taxes. By following these tips and staying informed about cybersecurity best practices, individuals can reduce their risk of falling victim to phishing scams and protect their sensitive information from being compromised.

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