IRS Issues Warning – Watch Out For Fraudulent Tax Emails

Scammers Portray IRS in Latest Phishing Scam

Earlier this week, the IRS issued a warning to tax payers regarding a fraudulent email that has been impersonating the agency.  The email includes tax transcripts, in an attempt to get the users to click on the documents, which contain malware.  The biggest risk would be employees clicking on these emails on company networks.  By doing so, the malware would spread network-wide.

The scam email includes an attachment labeled “tax account transcript” or something similar, with a subject line using some variation of the phrase “tax transcript.”

According to KLFY News 10, this malware, known as Emotet, generally poses as specific financial institutions in its effort to trick people into opening infected documents.  This time, they’ve portrayed the IRS.  Cyber security experts have labeled Emotet one of the most costly and destructive malware variants in the wild.

Proceed with Caution

The IRS has the following suggestions if you receive this email scam:

  1. Do not open the email or attachment.
  2. Delete or forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.
  3. If an email goes to your business, notify the company’s technology professionals.

The bottom line – the IRS does not, and will not, send out unsolicited emails.  Therefore, if you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from them– do not open it, it is a scam.

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19 thoughts on “IRS Issues Warning – Watch Out For Fraudulent Tax Emails

  1. I put a button on my Outlook toolbar that runs this little VBA macro. If I suspect an email is bad, I click the button and off it goes to the IRS, the FTC, and a couple of other watchdog orgs. Here’s the macro:

    Sub Spaminate()
    Dim aItem As Object, myForward As Object
    For Each aItem In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
    Set myForward = aItem.Forward
    With myForward
    .Subject = “REPORTING AS PHISHING SPAM: ” & aItem.Subject
    .Recipients.Add “phishing@irs.gov”
    .Recipients.Add “spam@uce.gov”
    .Recipients.Add “reportphishing@antiphishing.org”
    .Recipients.Add “phishing@council.bbb.org”
    .Attachments.Add aItem
    .Body = “Original email is attached.” & vbCrLf & “– Jim K”
    .Send
    End With
    aItem.Delete
    Next aItem
    End Sub

    • @clyde: Rock On, Clyde! 2002 was my last filing/paying as I was MANDATED by the judge in my divorce proceedings. Needless to say, I NEVER AGAIN married OR filed/paid “Income” taxes. Isn’t America GREAT!

  2. Cyber crime may be the biggest threat to the world. A country’s economic system could be destroyed along with many parts of the infrastructure such as utilities. These should be named capital offenses everywhere in the world. No imprisonment, immediate execution.

    • @Al:
      Your solution would not solve the problem. A lot of these criminals are not citizens of the US and therefore would not be subject to arrest by US law enforcement. In addition, most countries would not consider US applications for extradition, even with extradition treaties in place, if the likely penalty would be execution.

  3. One way to tell right away if an email you receive is a scam email is to look at th return email address of the sender. In this case, if the return address doesn’t say “irs.gov” and instead says something else (often an unintelligble address that ends with the suffix “.com”), it’s a scam email. ALWAYS check the return email address of any email you receive from a business or a government agency. if the return email address doesn’t match the name of the business or agency, it’s a SCAM email

    If you use Microsoft’s Outlook Mail (formerly Hotmail), you’ll be able to tell right away, as Microsoft doesn’t allow senders to mask their true email addresses and enables you to flag the email as a phishing scam. Microsoft has been particularly aggressive in screening out junk email, but even if a suspicious scam email reaches your inbox instead of your junk mail folder, ALWAYS check the sender’s return address — and DON’T OPEN ANY ATTACHMENT.

    • @Skeeter Sanders: Great suggestion! I have found it especially important when receiving e-mails from distant family members. Those often have an ending such as de or jp indicating the country of origin, Germany or Japan..

  4. One recurring one sent to me is one from Chase Bank that there is a problem with my account. I’ve been getting this every few days. Also every week a phone call that says they are from Microsoft and my computer has sent them a message

  5. I don’t know who to speak with. I tried to contact Kyla in regards to HOW HACKERS ARE REALLY GETTING into COMPUTERS AND SERVERS. I graduated top of my class in a Microsoft Certified Computer College Course (M.C.S.A) and wrote a book that tells how hackers are really getting into computers. Just so people can’t say that I am just trying to sell my book to make money I made the BOOK FREE! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/772289 if you REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT HOW WINDOWS SOFTWARE IS LEAVING YOU EXPOSED AND ACTUALLY OPENING YOUR COMPUTER UP FOR THESE ATTACKERS READ THE BOOK https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/772289

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