USA TODAY reports that with the federal tax-filing deadline looming, spam enticing Internet users to fill out bogus forms at faked IRS websites is flooding inboxes. And slick Web page promotions for overnight tax-preparation services and instant refunds are turning up in Google search results and Twitter micro-blog postings.

Be wary, the IRS and tech security experts say. The Web is littered with scams to get you to divulge sensitive information, such as your Social Security number and online account logons. The data are then used in identity theft scams.

Some tax-related trickery tries to get you to advance sums of money in hopes of realizing a larger gain. And some cybergangs are using tax-related ruses to silently take over full control of your PC. Your machine will later be used to pitch fake drugs or worthless anti-virus protection or to hijack online banking accounts. The bad guys can use infected workplace PCs to probe deeper into company networks.

Cybergangs routinely plan an array of attacks keyed to holidays and major sporting events, as well as breaking news about disasters or celebrity deaths and scandals.

In the past two years, tax-related scams have run longer than other types of scams, as people have months to file their taxes. Criminals are expert at playing off consumer fears of running afoul of the IRS. “Well after tax day, the scams about detecting a problem with the tax return or being owed a refund will still be quite viable,” says Randy Abrams, researcher at anti-virus firm ESET.

Photo by mobilecomputermag.