SonicWALL Identifies Rise of Phishing Attacks on Taxpayers in the Days Leading up to April 15th IRS Tax Filing
E-mail security expert Andy Klein outlines steps that taxpayers can take to protect against phishing and other network security vulnerabilities
SUNNYVALE, Calif., April 14 (www.myIDlab.com) -- Earlier this week SonicWALL, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNWL), a leading secure network infrastructure company, began seeing the expected rise in phishing threats related to the looming April 15 IRS tax filing date. One prominent scam has the IRS sending an e-mail to notify taxpayers that their tax refund is now available and asking them to provide their credit card information and identity information to have the refund deposited to the account provided < EMAIL >.
"We have been closely monitoring the phishing and spam levels and are now just beginning to see the rise of tax-related phishing e-mails hit taxpayer's inboxes," said Andy Klein, Sr. Product Manager, SonicWALL. "We predict that more than 100 million IRS related phishing emails will be sent to tax payers in the days leading up to and after the April 15 tax filing deadline."
While the IRS does not send e-mail regarding your refund, you can still get legitimate e-mail on the subject. For example, if you file your taxes online, you are likely to get legitimate email from the tax application provider as well as the bank which is acting as the transfer agent for the transaction for the IRS. Users of such online filing software do receive notifications regarding these legitimate e-mails, but phishers have been known in the past to use this opportunity prey on unwitting taxpayers' confusion and their interest in receiving their tax refund quickly. The information phishers will ask for credit card information so that they can deposit your refund and identity information (SSAN) so they can verify your identity.
As a precautionary measure, Andy Klein has outlined several steps that taxpayers can follow this 2009 tax season to help further defend against these types of phishing-related security threats:
1. Be aware that the IRS does not send you e-mails which ask for any financial, personal or identity information. All official correspondence with the IRS is done through US Mail.
2. If you file taxes online pay careful attention to the instructions provided as it relates to potential e-mail messages you could receive. Print off any relevant material and save it for later if needed.
3. When using a tax filing program such as Turbo Tax you may receive an e-mail notification when you file your taxes, letting you know that your tax forms were accepted or possibly rejected. Don't click on any links in the e-mail instead start the tax preparation program and check for notifications and next steps there.
4. After your taxes are filed, you may receive an email from Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, as they are the transfer agent for the IRS. This e-mail may have a link which will allow you login and check on the status of your refund. Don't click on the link, but instead enter http://www.sbbtral.com to reach the correct site.
5. Beware of offers that allow you to get loans on your income tax refund. While some offers are legitimate many others are not and are spam or phishing scams..
6. If you have a question about an email confirmation of your online filing and/or refund information from your software program or online filing service, contact the phone number of the tax service provider.
7. Be aware that taxpayers will see an increase in these types of threats in the weeks leading up to tax time.
8. Be aware that phishing exists.
9. Assume that email that either directly asks or indirectly asks for your financial or identity information is not good.
10. Improve your phishing IQ. SonicWALL has put together the phishing IQ test specifically to test your phishing knowledge. Go to: www.sonicwall.com/phishing/
For more information on the topic of phishing and other related threats, go to: http://anti-spam.sonicwall.com/
About SonicWALL, Inc.
SonicWALL is committed to improving the performance and productivity of businesses of all sizes by engineering the cost and complexity out of running a secure network. Over one million SonicWALL appliances have been shipped through its global network of ten thousand channel partners to keep tens of millions of worldwide business computer users safe and in control of their data. SonicWALL's award-winning solutions include network security, secure remote access, content security, backup and recovery, and policy and management technology. For more information, visit the company web site at http://www.sonicwall.com/.
Safe Harbor Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements include but are not limited to statements regarding steps to take to defend against phishing related security threats during tax season. These forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the time the statements are made and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. In addition, please see the "Risk Factors" described in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, for a more detailed description of the risks facing our business. All forward-looking statements included in this release are based upon information available to SonicWALL as of the date of the release, and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statement.
NOTE: SonicWALL is a registered trademark of SonicWALL, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
SOURCE SonicWALL, Inc.