The FBl and the IRS are warning the public to be on alert for a phone scam that spoofs, or fakes the FBl’s name on the recipient’s voice-mail.
Scammers have targeted residents around the region, claiming to be the FBI stating they are an “officer” of the FBI , Department of Tax and Crime Investigation. The intended victim is told that this is their final notice and that their physical address is under investigation and an arrest warrant has been issued under their name.
The public is reminded that the FBI does not call private citizens threatening arrest or requesting money and to never give out unsolicited requests for personal information to callers that you don't know. Individuals receiving such calls can file a complaint through the FBl’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.
To avoid becoming the victim of a scam:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.
- Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don't have ties and did not initiate contact.
- Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don't sound right, hang up.
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. “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."
The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industries – working in partnership as the Security Summit – currently are conducting an awareness campaign called Don’t Take the Bait, that includes warning tax professionals about the various types of phishing scams, including ransomware. The IRS highlighted this issue in an Aug. 1 news release IR-2017-125 Don’t Take the Bait, Step 4: Defend against Ransomware.
Victims should not pay a ransom. Paying it further encourages the criminals, and frequently the scammers won’t provide the decryption key even after a ransom is paid.
The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov. Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube videos.
If you are a tax professional and registered e-Services user who disclosed any credential information, contact the e-Services Help Deskto reset your e-Services password. If you disclosed information and taxpayer data was stolen, contact your local stakeholder liaison.
For more information about the FBI or to reach a specific FBI Office visit WWW.FBI.GOV