Phishing Attempts Increase During Tax Season

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During tax season, you might not be surprised to learn the government isn’t the only entity looking to make money from you prior to April 15. Criminals seeking to make money through spoof email campaigns take advantage of tax season by sending emails that appear to come from the IRS regarding W-2s.

These emails have subject lines like “Please Note – IRS Urgent Message-164” and appear to come from an IRS email address at first glance. However, opening these messages and their attachments will likely subject you to a ransomware attack.

Ransomware is the name given to malicious software that locks you out of your computer and holds your files ransom until you pay to have them released.

Please let this serve as a reminder to always give your emails a second look before acting on them. In this case, a good first step is to verify that a “.gov” email address is the actual sender of the message. You should also look for inconsistent style, fonts, and spelling. Most importantly, do not open attachments or visit links. Read this article for more information about identifying spoof emails.

This year, the IRS has issued a statement warning businesses to watch our for phishing attempts and is asking for help identifying scams related to W-2s. To assist, employers should forward all phishing attempts to phishing@irs.gov with “W-2 Scam” in the subject line. Please contact us if you are unsure about the validity of an email and how to minimize spam.


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