New Ransomware Scam Uses Both IRS and FBI Logos to Bolster Authenticity

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 29, 2017
Internet Crime

The IRS has warned taxpayers to beware a new ransomware scam that uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI as a way to make their email look legitimate.  The email tries to get users to click a "here" link in order to download a fake FBI questionnaire. However, the link leads not to a vehicle for useful public input but, instead, a malicious software program that locks the victim's computer and device data and demands money to release it. 

“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."

The IRS said that victims should not pay the ransom as it only encourages future crimes, and often times the scammer won't even unlock the system after receiving the money. Instead, 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 phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov. Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube videos.

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