Scammers typically kick into high gear during tax season in the United States, which tends to bring with it a spike in phishing attacks that spoof the Internal Revenue Service.
It is important to remain vigilant against malware and social engineering tactics related to any fake tax documents or fraudulent references to the IRS.
The ploy of these e-mails is to lure you into clicking on malicious links, downloading malicious documents/PDFs, or providing sensitive information, usually by stating there is a problem with your tax return or that you are entitled to more money.
Here are some example messages being seen:
Your Federal Tax Payment ID: 0010323734 has been rejected.
Return Reason Code R21 – The identification number used in the Company Identification Field is not valid. Please, check the attached information and refer to Code R21 to get details about your company payment in transaction contacts section:
EFTPS: The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System
PLEASE NOTE: Your tax payment is due regardless of EFTPS online availability. In case of an emergency, you can always make your tax payment by calling the EFTPS.
After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $468.32. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it. A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline. To access the form for your tax refund, please click here
Internal Revenue Service
This is in reference to your 2010 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return we seem to have some discrepancies with your filing. If you have already filed for your 2010 tax refund please get hold of a new form 1040 and mail it to the Department of the Treasury in your region.*
If for any reason you have not yet filed for your 2010 Individual Income Tax Return please print out the attached PDF form, fill it and fax it to the IRS data center on (fake phone number) within 24 hours.
This has no bearing on your 2010 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, this to update our data and survey while we prepare to close the 2010 tax filing season.
Users are encouraged to delete these messages immediately. Never respond to or use contact information provided in these messages, and NEVER send personal information through e-mail. If you have questions about your tax documents, contact the IRS directly using the phone numbers listed on their official website.
Consumers can report tax-related phishing scams to email@example.com
[Source: McAfee Labs, krebsonsecurity]