WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Internal Revenue Service and Security Summit partners this week warned the public of a surge of fraudulent emails impersonating the IRS and using tax transcripts as bait to entice users to open documents containing malware.
The scam is especially problematic for businesses whose employees might open the malware because it can spread through the network and potentially take months to remove.
This malware, known as Emotet, generally poses as banks and financial institutions in its effort to trick people into opening infected documents. The Summit partnership of the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry remind taxpayers to watch out for this scam.
However, in the past few weeks, the scam masqueraded as the IRS, pretending to be from “IRS Online.” The scam email carries an attachment labeled “Tax Account Transcript” or something similar, and the subject line uses some variation of the phrase “tax transcript.” These clues can change with each version of the malware. Scores of these malicious emails were forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org recently.
The IRS reminds taxpayers it does not send unsolicited emails to the public, nor would it email a sensitive document such as a tax transcript, which is a summary of a tax return. The IRS urges taxpayers not to open the email or the attachment. If using a personal computer, delete or forward the scam email to email@example.com. If you see these using an employer’s computer, notify the company’s technology professionals.