By Laura Bruck
Scammers love businesses — big businesses, small businesses, your business, your friend’s business, and especially businesses willing to fall for tax scams. Being aware of the schemes criminals are carrying out and the tactics they use to employ them can give your business the best chance to deflect such advances.
Tax scams can be difficult to detect, and they persist because they continue to work. In short, tax scams put you up against dedicated competition.
While these types of scams peak during tax season, scammers never take a break. Here are four categories of tax scams to keep on your radar.
For the past couple of years, the most effective scams have been the W-2 scam and business executive compromise (BEC). These scams have proven so prolific that, in Feb. 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an alert to all employers that scammers are targeting school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofit organizations. It seems no entity is off limits to scammers.
Even if your business doesn’t fit into a targeted category, you can still be targeted in the W-2 scam. Scammers will use stolen W-2 information to file for fraudulent refunds or commit identity theft.
How does it happen?
According to Infosec Institute, phishing attacks are the primary method hackers use to perpetrate W-2 scams. The phisher poses as a legitimate employee within your organization (typically the CEO or a member of the finance team) requesting W-2 information via email. In general, targeted attacks have increased exponentially. Symantec states in its 2015 Internet Security Threat Report that while large companies remain the prime target of these attacks, small businesses (those with under 250 employees) were hit by 43 percent of global spear-phishing attacks — up from 18 percent in 2011.
Even before attacks become targeted, scammers are busy determining how to best lure you into their trap. They may pose as a legitimate software company or other vendor to prompt you to click links that will install malware and give the scammer access to your device.
How can you protect your business?
The best action you can take is to be cautious about the emails you receive. However, this can be easier said than done if you receive emails that appear to be from employees, colleagues or third-party vendors. Considering the frequency with which scammers masquerade as legitimate sources — even spoofing email addresses of those you know — you must review every email with care.
Tax scammers, hoping to legitimize their ploy, operate under the guise of IRS employees. As this method continues to be quite effective, IRS tax scams have proliferated for several years. After all, what tax-paying citizens wouldn’t respond to the IRS? Between the serious nature of paying and filing taxes and the anxiety the IRS tends to elicit, scammers harness this power to command attention and urgency through intimidation.
How does it happen?
Once again, the success of phishing emails makes it a favored tool to pull off IRS tax scams. The emails Go to the full article.