Phishing Emails Flood Small Businesses Lookinf for Social Security Numbers


Tax scammers are inundating small businesses with phishing emails. Cybercriminals are attempting to trick the self-employed and small business owners into handing out their social security numbers.

The scams are being carried out with just the email address of small business and self-employed tax filers. Researchers at cybersecurity experts Malwarebytes Labs uncovered this latest tax-related scam. They warn that the small business targets are likely to receive an email urging them to quickly go to a site to apply for an IRS employee identification number (EIN) or Federal tax ID number, which are required for small businesses to file their federal income taxes by April 15.

When on the website, the small business owner is asked to enter personal information, including their Social Security number. As Malwarebytes Labs note, a comprised social security number (SSN) poses as a major problem.

“A SSN stays with you for a lifetime and is closely tied to your banking and credit history. Adding a person’s SSN to the scammers’ data could create far more opportunities for identity theft and fraud,” the report notes.

The scammers also have the audacity to charge small businesses for providing them with a tax ID number, despite such a service being offered for free by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Self-employed tax filers are being advised to be wary of receiving emails with the irs-ein-giv.us domain.

Protecting Your Small Business During Tax Filing Season

There are several steps small business owners can take to protect their business during tax filing season, when cyber fraud is typically high.

Never share a SSN or any form of tax documents with unknown parties.

  • Do not give anyone access to your computer. Always collect their information and call the back if necessary.
  • Use secure passwords and never share them.
  • Do not open attachments unless you are expecting them.
  • Double-check rush demands as scammers tend to use urgency to rush people into making a mistake.
  • Utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA) when filing taxes online. Use a tax preparing service which requires a complex password, username and MFA to access the account.
  • Keep all software on a PC updated.

Tax return season can be stressful enough for small business owners. Staying vigilant and aware of scams can help reduce the risk of filers becoming the victim of tax fraud.

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