IRS Ransomware Scam

By:  |  Category: Security Wednesday, August 30th, 2017  |  No Comments

All of us mildly panic when the IRS comes a calling-unless they are offering a refund. No one (other than a CPA) likes a tax audit, even if our finances are squeaky clean. Unfortunately, hackers are now exploiting our fear of having the government comb through our accounts, or on the other hand, our hyper excitement at getting money back, and they are capitalizing on it.

This is social engineering at it’s best–using people’s insecurities and emotions against them to gain access to information.

On January 28th, the Internal Revenue Service issued a warning regarding a new phishing scheme that impersonates the IRS and the FBI as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.

The IRS stated: “The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It tries to entice users to select a “here” link to download a fake FBI questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads a certain type of malware called ransomware that prevents users from accessing data stored on their device unless they pay money to the scammers.”

“This is a new twist on an old scheme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “People should stay vigilant against email scams that try to impersonate the IRS and other agencies that try to lure you into clicking a link or opening an attachment. People with a tax issue won’t get their first contact from the IRS with a threatening email or phone call.”

Most people are unaware that the IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds.


The IRS is adamant: “Victims should not pay a ransom. Paying it further encourages the criminals, and frequently the scammers won’t provide the decryption key even after a ransom is paid. Victims should immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.IC3.gov. Forward any IRS-themed scams to [email protected]

Here is the official IRS Newsroom post:

Please give EnhancedTECH a call to receive a complimentary cyber-security consultation for your business. Contact us at 714-970-9330 or at [email protected]

–Samantha Keller

source image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-gray-pinstripe-blazer-holding-black-and-gray-stylus-pen-and-black-pad-45905/

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