Security summit warns of new IRS impersonation email scam

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FILE – In this photo March 22, 2013, file photo, the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (KSNW) – A warning was issued from the Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners about a new IRS impersonations scam campaign that’s being spread nationally via email. The IRS does not send unsolicited emails and does not email taxpayers about the status of refunds.

The IRS learned of a new scam this week after being notified by taxpayers through phishing@irs.gov about unsolicited emails from IRS impostors. The IRS warns the emails may contain varying subject lines, but recent examples may include the following phrases: “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder.”

The emails contain links, which show a website that looks similar to IRS.gov. The website provides details pretending to be about the taxpayer’s refund, electronic return or tax account. The emails contain a “temporary password” or a “one-time password” to “access” the files to submit the refund. When taxpayers try to access these files, they turn out to be malicious files.

“The IRS does not send emails about your tax refund or sensitive financial information,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “This latest scheme is yet another reminder that tax scams are a year-round business for thieves. We urge you to be on-guard at all times.”

This new email uses dozens of websites and web addresses that are posing as the IRS.gov, which is making it a challenge to shut down. The email scam can infect computers with malware, which can allow impostors to gain control of taxpayer’s computer and private information, eventually giving them access to passwords and sensitive account information.

The IRS, Security Summit, and state tax agencies have made progress in their efforts to combat this issue, but people remain vulnerable to scams by IRS impostors.

The IRS will not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal of financial information.

Things the IRS won’t request:

  • Personal information
  • Financial information
  • Credit Card information
  • Access to financial accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Personal Identification Number (PIN)
  • Passwords
  • Demand immediate payment (using a specific payment method): prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer

In general, the IRS will will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. For more details see: Report Phishing and Online Scams

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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