Friday, February 12, 2010

Reposted from
It’s a busy time of year for the U.S. government. The IRS is processing tax returns and the US Census Bureau is preparing to distribute millions of census forms. All this activity creates the “perfect storm” of opportunity for Internet thieves.

If you receive an email notification asking you to download a census form, National White Collar Crime Center computer crimes expert Nick Newman says don’t do it! “These files aren’t actually from the census bureau, they’re from criminals abroad and the form they download is actually malware.” It’s also important to keep in mind that the Census Bureau will never initiate correspondence via email. Newman says your best bet is to simply stay out of the spam box!

Phishing schemes and malware tied to IRS forms are nothing new...criminals have been working on new and improved versions of that scam every year for more than a decade. During that time however, consumer awareness of the potential dangers has increased significantly. Consequently, the vast pool of potential victims has shrunk considerably. But the potential hazards linked to the census have received very little media attention and as a result, many Americans could wind up playing right into the hands of cyber crooks.

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