The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has published an alert to bring attention to “Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.” The week of awareness takes place from January 28 to February 1, 2019. The US-CERT encourages everyone to be aware of identity theft schemes that will be taking place, as they do every year, during the US tax season. Threat actors will often try to steal individual’s information by impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or other government-related or private organizations. Actors will be attempting to steal Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to abuse for their own malicious purposes or sell on underground forums. Threat actors will also attempt to steal PII to file an individual’s taxes to steal his/her tax return.
Recommendation: Fraudulent activity themed around large upcoming events are always prevalent. Users should be educated on the risks of phishing, specifically, how to identify such attempts. If someone is concerned that an email or other forms of online message is legitimately requesting their PII, they should contact the purported sender’s place of employment.