Ransomware and Taxes: A Dangerous Combination
We know that scammers are always looking for ways to exploit tax season. We safeguard our social security numbers and look out for suspicious emails impersonating the IRS. At work, payroll and HR employees are on high alert for W-2 phishing scams. And now, enterprising scammers have found a way capitalize on tax data.
The Latest Scam
Scammers are turning their attention to the tax preparer. They are attempting to infect tax preparation companies with ransomware, knowing that their network will contain the tax information of many clients. With that kind of sensitive information on the line, tax preparers may be more likely than other targets to pay the ransom. And, don’t forget, hackers now have access to that valuable information. Even if the victims pay the ransom, hackers may choose to exploit the tax information.
Does this sound familiar? It’s similar to how ransomware attacks moved from individual businesses to managed service providers. When scammers direct their attacks up the supply chain, their scams have the potential to affect far more people.
Cyber Safety Tip: File your taxes early, before a scammer does it for you!
Here at Cyber Safe Workforce, we have always recommended filing your taxes early. No matter what the scam of the season may be, filing early shortens the window of opportunity for the scammer to steal your tax refund.
In addition to filing early, consider who has access to your tax information. If you use a commercial tax preparer, either in person or online, ask them how they will protect your data. You want to keep your information safe whether your return has been filed or not.
Stay safe this tax season!