The Internal Revenue Service has issued an advisory and the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team reminds users to be cautious at this time of year.
Among the tax scams for 2014 the Internal Revenue Service lists phishing. Their Dirty Dozen Advisory states:
Phishing is a scam typically carried out with the help of unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site to lure in potential victims and prompt them to provide valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, a criminal can commit identity theft or financial theft.
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to email@example.com.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) reminds users to remain cautious when receiving unsolicited email that could be part of a potential phishing scam. As they state in US Tax Season Phishing Scams and Malware Campaigns take the following measures:
- Do not follow links in unsolicited email messages.
- Keep antivirus software up to date.
- Refer to US-CERT's Security Tips on Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams and Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for additional techniques and recommendations.
- Visit the IRS page for instructions on how to report suspected tax season phishing messages.
Text Description of the Phishing Cartoon
The cartoon depicts an underwater scene. A fishing hook, which is suspended on a line from a boat has a note attached, which reads:
We need to verify your credit card number.
Three green fish, two small ones and a large one, face the hook and its message. The large fish says:
Don't take the bait. Protect your financial information.