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
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.
Wilson Dizard III is the deputy news editor/senior writer for Government Computer