WASHINGTON, August 28, 2017 — The Internal Revenue Service warned people to avoid a new phishing scheme that impersonates the IRS and the FBI as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.
The IRS said: “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.”
We suggest you send employees, friends and family an email about this ransomware attack, you’re welcome to copy/paste/edit:
“Heads-up! The IRS is warning against a new phishing scam that tries to make you download an FBI questionnaire. But if you click the link, your computer will be infected with ransomware instead. The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Remember that the IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!
The IRS stated: “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 firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Here is the official IRS Newsroom post: