Tax forms are important documents that are used to report income and tax liabilities to the government. If you’re preparing your own taxes, it’s very important to look out for malware that can gain access to your personal data. Tax-related malware is becoming increasingly common, with cybercriminals using fake tax forms to trick people into downloading malicious software onto their devices. As a result, it’s important to know how to identify whether a tax form is legitimate or malware. Here are some tips to help you differentiate between the two.

Scrutinize The Source

First, consider the source of the tax form. Legitimate tax forms are typically obtained directly from the government or a trusted tax preparation service. If you receive a tax form via email or a link from an unfamiliar source, be suspicious. Scammers often use email or social media to distribute fake tax forms that contain 5. For example, the IRS has issued warnings about fake tax forms that contain links to malicious websites.

Examine The Format

Second, check the format of the tax form. Legitimate tax forms are usually in PDF or other standard formats. If a tax form is in an unfamiliar format, such as an executable file or a zip archive, be wary. These formats are often used to hide malware. For example, a fake tax form might be disguised as an executable file that claims to be a tax calculator but actually contains malware.

Check the Content

Third, examine the content of the tax form. Legitimate tax forms usually contain specific information, such as your name, address, and social security number. If a tax form asks for unusual or unnecessary information, such as your bank account or credit card numbers, it may be a fake form. Additionally, be wary of tax forms that contain misspellings, grammar errors, or other mistakes. Legitimate tax forms are usually carefully edited and proofread.

Scan The File

Fourth, use antivirus software to scan the tax form before opening it. Most modern antivirus programs can detect malware in files before they are opened. If you’re unsure whether a tax form is legitimate or not, use antivirus software to scan it first. This will help you identify any potential threats before they can do any harm.

Check if it’s a Phishing Attack

Fifth, beware of phishing attacks. Cybercriminals often use phishing attacks to trick people into giving up their personal information. For example, you might receive an email that looks like it’s from the IRS, asking you to click on a link and enter your personal information. These emails are usually fake and are designed to steal your identity or install malware on your device. If you’re unsure whether an email is legitimate or not, contact the organization directly to verify its authenticity.


In summary, there are several ways to identify whether a tax form is legitimate or malware. These include checking the source of the form, examining its format and content, using antivirus software to scan it, and being wary of phishing attacks. By following these tips, you can protect yourself from tax-related malware and keep your personal information safe.

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