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Researchers Warn Of Coming Tax Scams

Phishing scams playing off the impending April 15 deadline for filing federal taxes are on the upswing, a security company said Monday, and more schemes are in the works.

San Diego-based Websense, Inc. said that its researchers have monitored a recent rise in the number of phishing attacks via fraudulent e-mails and Web sites that spoof the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Several of the ongoing phishing campaigns link to compromised servers beyond U.S. borders, a finding acknowledged last week by the IRS when it issued yet another warning about bogus sites and messages masquerading as notices from the IRS.

Tax-related scams aren't unusual.

"Cyber thieves sit back and wait for current events such as tax season," said Dan Hubbard, senior director of Websense's security research, in a statement. "With tens of millions of online users filing their taxes on the Internet, many Web filers readily disclose personal identifiers such as network passwords, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, or their mother's maiden name.

"The combination of having a large pool of potential users to target and the timeliness of the current event could lead to high numbers of both consumer and corporate victims," added Hubbard.

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