Criminals target non-resident aliens about their non-resident tax exemption status
Even though it’s not quite tax season, fraudsters are already starting their annual onslaught of fake Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax scams. The goal is to steal sensitive information and money from unsuspecting victims.
The cybercriminals behind this fake IRS tax form scam target non-resident aliens and inform them that their non-resident tax exemption status is in question. The potential victim is urged to fill out a fraudulent IRS non-resident tax exemption form W-BBEN to verify their status.
In this tax form scam, a malicious email is sent to victims that contains an attachment to a fake form that impersonates IRS form W-BBEN. It is sent as a .pdf attachment to an email.
The fake W-BBEN form requests sensitive personal information including date of birth, passport number, and bank account details. The email prompts the target to fill out the fake IRS tax form and send it back with a copy of their passport.
This IRS tax form scam attempts to add credibility to the ruse by impersonating the US Internal Revenue Service domain name, IRS,gov. However, the actual domain name, huaweimobilewifi.com, is registered in China.
The scam is dangerous because it can result in identity theft or financial loss. If the recipient is fooled by the fraudster and sends sensitive information to the attackers, it could result future phishing emails or identity theft. If the victim enters bank account numbers on the fake IRS form W-BBEN and sends it back to the scammers, it could result in financial theft.
“Although tax season has passed, IRS impersonation scams persist, putting many Americans at risk for identity theft and payment fraud,” says the report from Abnormal Security.
Like most scams the messaging in the email tries to impart a sense of urgency on the victim to get them to act without scrutinizing the email sender or its contents.