Scams, Schemes & Swindles from TN Dept. of Commerce
New Malware Affecting Home & Small Business Routers
Federal officials and cyber security experts have been reporting about a newly disclosed malware known as “VPNFilter.” Security researchers are estimating that over 500,000 small business and home office routers could be affected. Among the devices identified are routers from Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR, TP-LINK and QNAP. While the list of devices reported is not all inclusive, these are the brands identified at this time.
The malware is destructive and it is important for home users to take precautionary steps. Below are some recommended best practices to help protect you and your home network:
- Modem/Router Reboot: A simple reboot of your modem/router can help prevent your device from becoming infected. This can be accomplished by unplugging the device from the electrical outlet, waiting at least 10 seconds, and then plugging the device back in.
- Proper Password(s): Always make sure any device at home that connects to the internet have unique passwords and never the default admin passwords that come with the device.
- Patch/Update Firmware: Many routers and modems receive security updates from time to time, but if you are not sure, contact your Internet Service Provider or go to your router’s website for the most up to date firmware or update for your router. Netgear and Linksys have already established how-to guides on their websites.
Important Tax Fraud Alert
The Internal Revenue Service has issued an alert on erroneous federal tax refunds resulting from an emerging fraud scheme effecting thousands of people. Real taxpayer information including bank account and routing information for direct deposit has been stolen from tax professionals and used to file fraudulent returns. The fraudster contacts the taxpayer posing as an employee of a debt collection agency on behalf of the IRS with instructions on returning the money. If this happens to you, the IRS requests you contact the Automated Clearing House department of the bank/financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return it to the IRS. Taxpayers are also asked to contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040 (individuals) or (800) 829-4933 (business) to explain why the direct deposit is being returned. For more information,