Warning: IRS Impersonation Email Scam

The Internal Revenue Service and it's Security Summit Partners have warned taxpayers and tax professionals about a new IRS impersonation scam campaign spreading nationally on email. Remember: The IRS does not send unconsolidated emails and never emails taxpayers about the status of refunds. 

The IRS this week detected this new scam as taxpayers began notifying them by forwarding emails to phishing@irs.gov about impostor emails. The email subject line may vary, but recent examples use one of the following phrases: 

  • Automatic Income Tax Reminder
  • Electronic Tax Return Reminder

The emails have links that show an IRS.gov-like website with details pretending to be about the taxpayers's refund, electronic refund, or tax account. The emails contain a "temporary password" or "one-time password" to "access" the files to submit the refund. But when taxpayers try to access these, it turns out to be an malicious file. 

"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 scam used dozens of compromised websites and web addresses that pose as IRS.gov, making it a challenge to shut down. By infecting computers with malware, these impostors may gain control of the tax payer's computer or secretly download software that tracks every keystroke, eventually giving them passwords to sensitive accounts, such as financial accounts. 

The IRS, state tax agencies, and the tax industry, which work together in the Security Summit effort, have made progress in the efforts to fight stolen identity refund fraud. But people remain vulnerable to scams by IRS impostors sending fake emails or harassing phone calls. 

The IRS doesin'g initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes request of PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, bank or other financial accounts. 

The IRS also doesn't call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

Search "Report Fishing and Online Scams" for more details.