Police Report: Cyber Tax Fraud
Submitted by Bruce Dayno, Riverwoods Police Chief
Law enforcement agencies are seeing an uptick in the reporting of tax-fraud-related tactics and techniques. When successful these scams can lead to the installation of malware, the loss of personally identifiable information, wire transfers to malicious accounts, compromised login credentials, and spam emails. The following IRS cyber scams have been reported around the country.
Phishing emails – several businesses report receiving scam emails related to tax fraud. In this variant of the scam, the malicious actor attempts to convince human resource department employees who have access to employee’s W-2 information to email that information to the malicious actor. To make this scam more realistic the malicious actors often impersonate or attempt to compromise the email account of a senior executive, such as a superintendent or treasurer, and the emails are sent to a small number of staff in the finance and human resources departments. The malicious actors almost always use the stolen information to file fraudulent tax returns.
A new variant of this scam in 2017 re-targets victims, attempting to convince the victim to issue a wire transfer.
Victims who comply have lost thousands of dollars.
User-targeted phishing emails – Several businesses report that users have received W-2 themed phishing emails, which direct the user to a logon page in an attempt to convince the user to enter their credentials in order to view their W-2s. The link often redirects to a compromised website and displays what appears to be the proper sign-on page for the targeted business sign on page. These emails frequently refer to a “paperless W-2 system” and are tailored to the organization that receives them.
Seasonal spam – Spam containing malware is frequently targeted to coincide with current events, such as the tax season.
If you find out a fraudulent tax return has been filed in your name, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
For questions, Contact Chief Bruce Dayno at 847-945-1130 or at firstname.lastname@example.org