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The dark web remains a premier marketplace for stolen credentials and other information these days. With the 2016 tax season in full effect in the US, scammers are collecting information at every possible turn. With the stolen information, criminals can commit tax refund fraud. Even people who aren’t bothered to steal the information themselves, buying the details from the deep web has become relatively easy these days.
It is evident the 2016 US tax season is a treasure trove for criminals all over the world. With so much personal information being transmitted over the internet, intercepting these details can be quite lucrative. Either criminals use the information for fraudulent tax refund claims themselves, or sell the details on the dark web. Selling this stolen information is quite profitable, as there are other criminals willing to spend quite a lot of money for a full set of details.
Among the stolen information found on the deep web is quite a vast collection of personal details. PayPal accounts, stolen credit cards, and even access to hacked computers are all prevalent. In the “other” category on most Darknet marketplaces, one can find the necessary tools to commit tax refund fraud. In most cases, criminals will sell raw tax form data including employer name, ID, address, and SSN.
Tax Refund Fraud Season in Full Effect
It is a mystery as to how hackers successfully obtain this information these days, though. As one would expect, Bitcoin is the only accepted payment method for this information. Criminals still believe cryptocurrency will provide them with anonymity, even though that is far from the case. Records are sold for the average price of US$12, although there are cheaper and more expensive options as well.
Do not be mistaken in thinking tax refund fraud is not a big problem. It affects several million US citizens every single year. Most legitimate return claims are rejected because criminals filed the false claims first. Moreover, tax return fraud encompasses those who are not required to file returns or receive a refund as well. Unfortunately, criminals have an easy time collecting this information, due to phishing emails and malware.
That being said, most of this information is stolen from employers themselves. Targeting HR people from a specific enterprise through a spoofed email is quite the successful ploy these days. Most of these fake emails come from someone higher up the enterprise hierarchy, even though they never sent this email, to begin with. In most cases, this affects several thousand employees per company every single time.
Unfortunately, this whole ordeal gives bitcoin a bad reputation. Although the cryptocurrency has been a preferred payment method among Darknet vendors for some time, it looks like things are only getting worse. Considering how Bitcoin lacks anonymity, it is not a good idea for criminals to accept this payment method. Consumers are also advised to file their tax returns as quickly as possible, before falling victim to tax refund fraud.
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