With tax day bearing down on us, some users of the popular e-File site have yet another thing to worry about.
A majority of taxpayers now file online, saving time and frustration, filing more accurate returns and getting their refunds faster than ever before. There are many IRS-authorized sites that have built a reputation of being secure and trustworthy — until now.
One of the most popular tax prep sites, eFile.com, has been caught spreading malware just as users are scrambling to file their returns by the deadline of April 18.
On March 17th, a Redditor posted an image of an error page from eFile.com that claimed a “browser update” was required to access the site. The spoofed page looked legit, but clicking on the download button installed malware on Windows PC. Macs were not affected.
Online security monitors, MalwareHunterTeam, tweeted on April 3rd that the malware page was still active. That’s at least three weeks since the spoofed site was spreading malware.
A Closer Look
An examination of the spoofed page revealed several indications that the site wasn’t kosher, including spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.
The big question is, how did an IRS-approved tax prep site not notice that they were spreading malware for so long? Shouldn’t security be the most important function of an e-file system that’s taking users personal and business financial information?
There’s no telling how many users had their systems infected and how much damage was done. While the hackers behind the malware bear ultimate responsibility, a company dealing in such private information that fails its users that badly is unworthy of your trust.
Luckily, there are many other tax prep sites that you can use, other than eFile.com. See our review of our
top five, here.
Meanwhile, if you already used eFile.com, you should take immediate precautions. Run the Offline Windows Defender app to scan your system. The app has the latest virus, malware and spyware definitions and should be able to tell you if your computer is infected. You should also monitor your credit, investment and banking accounts. You may even want to freeze your credit.
If you haven’t yet filed, now’s the time to get busy – the IRS assesses stiff penalties for filing late. If you’re not ready, you can file for an extension to file. The tax you owe is still due, but you can avoid the late filing fee.
Sadly, if you filed using eFile, you should double check your returns for accuracy. And you might want to contact eFile and demand a refund.