News

Tax Rebates Spawn New School of Phishing

The Bush administration's economic-stimulus tax rebate program, under which the Internal Revenue Service is issuing taxpayers payments of as much as $1,200, has given rise to a new wave of phishing scams, according to a new FBI notice.

The scams rely on a technique known as social engineering to trick computer users into divulging personal information that the cybercriminals or their customers can use to bilk unwary taxpayers.

The new phishing scams use spam e-mails to gull prospective refund recipients into providing their bank account information and other personally identifiable data via a fraudulent form that is attached to the original message by a hyperlink.

"To convince consumers to reply, the e-mail warns that a failure to complete the form in a timely manner will delay the issuance of the rebate check," the bureau said in a warning.

The bureau urged people to use caution when dealing with e-mail from unknown senders, repeating the frequently heard warning that such electronic messages often include malware. The FBI notice also included examples of the types of deceptive wording the phishing e-mails have used.

The latest FBI warning about the online flood of fraudulent tax refund e-mails comes on the heels of a rising tide of IRS-related online fraud. The recent notice follows earlier warnings on the same topic by MX Logic, which predicted the fraud tactic earlier this year.

The bureau's fraud notice also echoes the IRS' own anti-phishing warnings and actions against IRS spoof sites. The IRS recently stated that the number of bogus IRS sites has increased twelvefold this year over last year.

About the Author

Wilson Dizard III is the deputy news editor/senior writer for Government Computer News (GCN.com).

Featured

  • Microsoft In Talks To Acquire TikTok

    A deal between Microsoft and Beijing-based ByteDance is in the works that would have Microsoft acquiring some of ByteDance's holdings in the TikTok social media service.

  • Some Cortana Features Ending as Part of Microsoft 365 Shift

    Microsoft may be promoting Cortana more as a Microsoft 365 business perk, but the digital assistant will soon see several of its capabilities falling out of support.

  • 2020 Microsoft Conference Calendar: For Partners, IT Pros and Developers

    Here's your guide to all the IT training sessions, partner meet-ups and annual Microsoft conferences you won't want to miss. (Now updated with COVID-19-related event changes.)

  • Tasks in Teams Starts Rolling Out to Some Microsoft 365 Users

    Tasks in Teams, which pulls together information from Microsoft task-creation apps like Planner and To Do, has started rolling out to "a small group" of Microsoft 365 users.

RCP Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.