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Barracuda Networks Caution Against IRS & CRA Spoofed Phishing E-mails

Barracuda Networks Inc., an Internet security company, is giving warning to e-mail users not to open e-mails or click on links included in e-mails that pretend to be from the Internal Revenue Service promising recipients payment in exchange for submitting a 'Stimulus Payment Form'.

Barracuda Networks states that the total number of spoofed e-mails relating to the Stimulus Payment Form has been continuously increasing ever since the US President Barack Obama announced an economic-stimulus fund that the Congress recently passed. The company further reports of a rise in similar phishing scams purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

According to Stephen Pao, Vice-President for Product Management at Barracuda Networks, the Stimulus Payment Form scams are the variations of schemes observed in previous years during the tax season. However, the new thing in 2009 scam is the skill with which the spammers are exploiting the most recent news, both good and bad, as reported by emailwire on February 6, 2009.

Additionally, with the marking of CAN-SPAM Act's fifth anniversary this year (2009), Pao notes that the act has hardly made an impact on reducing spam. In contrast, Pao states that the economic recession is escalating the spam market. According to him, consumers are now more inclined to purchase products advertised through spam. For example, during an economic meltdown, a person may rely on spam to acquire a Rolex (fake one) instead of getting the genuine product from the general store, or use the cheaper drug options via spam mails.

Reports further disclose that both CRA (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/) and IRS (http://www.irs.gov), government agencies, have posted alert messages on their individual websites about fraudulent e-mails as well as the ways they can be reported. In fact, users receiving the purported e-mails are encouraged to forward the messages to IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Meanwhile, following the phishing warnings from Barracuda, CRA and IRS, government security organization US-CERT also alerted e-mail users on February 6, 2009, telling them that online scammers were dispatching bogus e-mails promising payments from economic-stimulus package, but in reality, steal confidential data.

Related article: Barracuda.A Bot Infects A Large Network of PCs To Initiate DDoS Attacks

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