Be Aware of Tax Season Email Scams

Scammers look for opportunity to bait unsuspecting users. Tax season presents a prime opportunity for cybercriminals to disguise a new attack on an unsuspecting victim. Small businesses are especially vulnerable since they are usually not as well protected and often have large amounts of cash in their bank accounts. The prime method used by cybercriminals is email scamming. Protect your company by being aware of the most common attack techniques.

  1. Phishing scams: The IRS included phishing scams on its “Dirty Dozen” list. This scam involves a fraudulent email that captures personal and company data. According to the IRS, it never uses electronic communication to request personal or company information or to ask for payment. Any email requesting such information should be considered suspicious. Follow-up by calling the IRS, if you are uncertain.
  2. Ransomware: As the name implies, ransomware typically involves a virus that is sent via email, often claiming to include important tax information. When the user opens it, the virus takes control of all files and the cybercriminal refuses to release them until the business owner pays a ransom. The attacker may even threaten to erase all your files. Again, the IRS rarely makes an initial communication via email. Important tax information is always sent via mail. Do not open any email claiming to be from the IRS. Additionally, take steps to protect your business. Make regular back-ups of all your files and encrypt confidential information.
  3. Trojans: Financial trojans also can come in the form of an email disguised to look like it’s from a well-known tax program, such as H&R Block or Turbotax. Once the user opens the attachment, malware is installed on the computer, allowing scammers to obtain login information and important bank account data.

How can small businesses protect themselves? Be suspicious of any email requesting personal or sensitive company data. Additionally, good security software is a must. Talk to the professionals at Global IP Networks about your security concerns. Contact us for a complete assessment.

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