Ransomware Scheme Impersonates IRS and FBI

The IRS has issued an urgent warning about a new email phishing scheme that uses IRS and FBI emblems to entice users into clicking a link to download a fake FBI questionnaire. The link downloads ransomware, which prevents users from accessing data from their devices unless they pay the scammers.

The IRS advises victims of the scheme not to pay the ransom, as hackers often fail to provide access to the hostage data even after being paid. According to the agency, people with a tax issue will not get their first contact from the IRS with a threatening email or phone call, nor does the IRS use email, text messages, or social media to discuss personal tax issues.

The IRS says victims should immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.IC3.gov, and forward any IRS-themed scams to phishing@irs.gov.

To read the IRS statement in its entirety, and to see a sample phishing email, click here.

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