Security, privacy, and taxes

by VPNHaus | 02/26/2009 |Posts

As if paying taxes wasn't bad enough...

Recently, the Washington Post reported that the IRS expects an increase in tax-related scams and viruses leading up to the April 15 filing deadline:

The most common type of scam arrives via e-mails claiming to come from the IRS or Treasury Department. They typically try to either scare consumers into thinking there is an error with their tax filing, or that they are eligible for a tax rebate or benefit from the government economic stimulus package that just passed on Capitol Hill.

These so-called "phishing" e-mails typically arrive in an e-mail that urges users to visit a site, which in turn prompts visitors to enter their personal and financial data, information that is then sent off to identity thieves.

Though experienced users may be skeptical of their own susceptibility to a phishing scam, the IRS reiterates that they will never communicate with taxpayers via unsolicited email, and Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George explains:

"Some of these bogus e-mails are so sophisticated that people who are uninformed can and do fall prey to this type of scam. That is why it is so imperative that we continue to get this message out to people."

The IRS urges anyone receiving a suspicious email to forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

Meanwhile, Bruce Schneier has a great post up right now about how companies and government agencies can mitigate insider threats... just in case the real security risk during tax season lies inside the IRS!

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