Washington, DC – The Internal Revenue Service on Monday (Aug 28) 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 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, cautioning, “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,” added Koskinen.