Email scammers hide Trojans in fake tax notices

Email scammers are sending out fake tax demands in a ruse designed to dupe recipients into installing malicious Trojan software on their computers, the US Internal Revenue Service has warned.

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Email scammers are sending out fake tax demands in a ruse designed to dupe recipients into installing malicious Trojan software on their computers, the US Internal Revenue Service has warned.

One scam features an email purporting to come from the IRS criminal investigation division. It says the victim is under investigation for filing a false tax return. An attachment, which appears to be the IRS's complaint, actually installs malicious software that gives the criminals access to the victim's PC.

A second scam email says a complaint about the victim's "business services" has been brought against them and advises that this can be arbitrated by the IRS.

The "complaint" attachment included in this scam is actually a new type of Trojan Horse called Backdoor.Robofo, security vendor Symantec said.

A spokesperson for the IRS said the organisation does not offer dispute arbitration. "We're in the tax business. We're not in the arbitration business," she said. "The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails," she added.

The IRS became aware of both scams over the past few days, as samples of the email messages were submitted by taxpayers to the organisation's [email protected] scam reporting email address.

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