Tax scammer goes after small business owners and self-employed people | Malware

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While most tax payers don’t particularly look forward to tax season, for some scammers it’s like the opening of their hunting season. So it’s no surprise that our researchers have found yet another tax-related scam.

In this most recent scam, we’ve not seen the lure the scammer uses, but it is likely to be an email telling the target to quickly go to this site to apply for your IRS EIN/Federal tax ID number.

EIN is short for Employer Identification Number. The IRS uses this number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns. EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit associations, trusts, estates of decendents, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities.

Given the flow of the scam it’s very likely that the targets are self-employed and/or small business (SMB) owners. It’s possible that the phisher has obtained or bought a collection of email addresses from a data broker that fit a certain profile (for example, self-employed US residents).

To start this operation, the scammer doesn’t need a lot of information about their targets. A valid email address for a self-employed US resident could cost just a few cents on an underground forum on the dark web. However, the scammer might not even need to venture that far, as Senior Director of Technology and Engineering and Consumer Privacy at Malwarebytes, Shahak Shalev told us:

“I don’t think one would have to go to the dark web to get information like this as there are regular companies selling this information. They would probably qualify it…

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