Cybercriminals Riding Tax Filing Tides: Tax Fraud Season in Effect

Data theft is a year-round, opportunistic crime, but seasonal events often trigger rises in spam and fraud. The most significant such example is tax fraud riding the wave of tax filing season.

It’s That Time of Year Again

Every year, tax filing season, which extends from January to April in the U.S., is one of the most popular opportunities for cybercriminals to perpetrate scam ploys. As soon as January rolls around, the volume of email flooding potential victims with tax return-themed spam begins rising gradually. The most common crimes that ensue are fraudulent tax returns on the consumer side and W-2 fraud on the business side.

Read the IBM X-Force Report: Cybercrime Riding Tax Season Tides

IBM X-Force Takes On Tax Fraud

IBM X-Force researchers looked into the various spam traps for a glimpse into the rise in tax-themed spam, and the numbers are already there. For two of the spam email examples we provided in our report, we saw a 393 percent increase from December 2016 to February 2017. We expect this rise to continue into April 2017 and to see new scam types appear well after the filing deadline passes as people wait for their refund notices to come through.

In this report, we’ll answer the following questions about tax fraud: What kinds of tax records are cybercriminals selling on the Dark Web? What kinds of ploys are they using? What can be facilitated with your information or information stolen from your company?

To learn more about the most current tax season scams targeting consumers and businesses, download our report “Cybercrime Riding Tax Season Tides: Trending Spam and Dark Web Findings.”

Limor Kessem

Executive Security Advisor, IBM

Limor Kessem is one of the top cyber intelligence experts at IBM Security. She is a seasoned security advocate, public...