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Spammers exploit the Tax Season

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#1 AplusWebMaster



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Posted 17 March 2008 - 08:20 AM


- http://preview.tinyurl.com/27vmb6
March 17, 2008 (Symantec Security Response Weblog) - "...We have observed spammers disguising themselves as the IRS and dangling an offer of a tax refund to unwitting recipients. That is, a refund made available once you input your credit card information into their site. A site that does not bear the IRS URL. A site that is fraudulent and nothing more than a collection tool for credit card and other personal information. And while we are still seeing this, we have recently observed a few new types of spam in relation to tax season. This spam being of a more sinister type as it directs you to download a virus.
- In one example, the spammer indicates that a new law requires you to download tax software (?!!!) . Well, that in itself is ridiculous because taxes are traditionally done on paper and there is no existing law stating that you need a computer for your taxes in the first place. If that wasn’t a red flag, the site that you actually download the "software" from is not a government site. Instead, it is merely an IP address. In the body of the message, the URL does appear to be a legitimate government site being "irs.gov/softwareupdate." However, when you click it, you are redirected to the IP address hosting the virus. Upon going to the official IRS site (irs.gov) and manually typing in irs.gov/softwareupdate, the "The requested page does not exist. Please check your URL." error message is displayed. Upon a glance, this (bogus e-mail/spam/phish) message does appear to be legit, at least on the surface, carrying legititmate-looking "From" and "Subject" lines, as well as the legit-looking link referencing the IRS...
- Another example is utilizing the ever popular tax software, TurboTax. Here the spammer is also advising the recipient to download software updates to comply with new IRS requirements...

- Be alert during tax season for those preying on you for sinister purposes such as stealing of personal information and spreading viruses. In the above samples, a few simple research steps and analysis of the headers and body made it clear these were not legit. Above all, do not download anything on your computer unless you are sure that it is what it says it is and comes from someone you know and trust or a reputable company... You can always call the company’s support line from a phone number retrieved on their official site with details of the message and ask them if it truly came from them."


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