The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning about a new “tax transcript” scam that consumers are forwarding to the IRS reporting address firstname.lastname@example.org. Scammers pretending to be the “IRS Online” send out “urgent” emails with attachments labeled some variant of “Tax Account Transcript”. Tax transcripts are summaries of your tax records. They are available online, and taxpayers do need access to an email account. The IRS does not, however, send unsolicited emails to the public. The emails are actually malware that is known to the IRS as Emotet. Posing as financial institutions, these cybercriminals trick people into opening the attachments. According to US-CERT, Emotet infections have cost up to $1 million per incident to remediate.
What to do:
Do not open the email or the attachment! If you are on your personal computer, delete the email. If you are on your work computer, notify your information security team immediately, and let others in your office know not to open the email either.
If you receive a call, a voice message, or an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS and you do not owe money, hang up or do not respond. Never give out any information. Your safest bet is to call the IRS directly at 1.800.829.1040 to discuss your specific situation. For security awareness training to help prevent things like this from happening to you, go here.