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
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!