Last year, the IRS estimated income tax fraud would cost taxpayers roughly $21 billion. The upcoming tax season is expected to bring more losses from phishing scams due to the amount of personal information (W-2s, tax returns, social security numbers, etc.) circulating during tax season and the increased sophistication of the attacks.
Hackers use phishing emails to convince employees (typically in the Human Resources or Finance departments) to send over personal information about employees, often by email. These types of emails are deceiving, with many disguised to look like they are coming from company executives, such as the CEO. Once received by the hacker, this personal information allows them to file a tax return, cash in on someone’s tax refund or steal their identity. The process is quick as hackers have machines set up to take advantage of this information almost as soon as they receive it.
Common Phishing Emails
The IRS reported that the following are some common phishing emails to look out for: