Email claims that your tax return request has been successfully submitted and that you can view your submission by opening an attached file.
The email is fraudulent. The attached .zip file contains a Microsoft Word document that harbours a malicious macro. If allowed to run, this macro can download and install malware on your computer.
Subject: Tax return request submitted
Your tax return request has been successfully submitted
Thank you for your request.To view the submission details please refer to the attachment
According to this email, your tax return request has been successfully submitted. It urges you to open an attached file to view submission details.
However, the email is not from any legitimate tax agency or accounting firm. Instead, it is a simple ruse designed to trick you into allowing malware to be installed on your computer.
If you open the attached .zip file, you will find that it contains a seemingly harmless Microsoft Word document. But, if you click to open the Word document, you will be prompted to enable macros, ostensibly so that the content can be correctly displayed.
If you then enable macros as requested, a malicious macro will clandestinely download and install malware. The exact purpose of this malware may vary. In some cases, the malware may be ransomware that can lock your computer’s files and then demand a fee to receive an unlock key. In other cases, it may be malware that can steal sensitive information such as banking passwords from your computer.
People who have recently submitted their tax return may be especially vulnerable to this ruse. And, some people who have not submitted a return may believe that a mistake has been made and open the attachment to find out more information.
Be wary of any email that claims that you must enable macros to view an ordinary document such as a tax return submission or an invoice. There is no reason why you should need macros to view such documents.
If you are unfamiliar with macros and the possible security threats they pose, please refer to this earlier Hoax-Slayer report.
Last updated: June 2, 2016
First published: June 2, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen