Scams aren’t new but are getting more sophisticated simultaneously with the advancement of endpoint protection solutions. The latest scam on the web is all about tricking victims into believing that they’ve received a verification link from the IRS agency or a one-time password. The users are asked to click on the link to complete the process or face unwarranted consequences.
Should someone reply to these emails, the scammers would ask for more personal information with or without your notice and use it against you to fulfill their malicious goals. Or worse, the fraudster may get a malware downloaded onto your system or infect it with a ransomware and hold your crucial data for ransom. Later, you’d find a hacker demanding money in return for releasing the encrypted data back to you.
Don’t trust your trusted source
Often, to make the emails look believable, hackers gain access to emails accounts of someone that you could trust and send the malicious links or attachments from their account. But if you’ve not requested for any such information, you must call up your friend and warn him about the suspicious activity.
Follow the thumb rule
Generally, as a thumb rule, you shouldn’t respond to unsolicited emails asking for verification, or open files that you didn’t request. Cybercriminals are aware, emails if sent from a familiar address would fetch a near-guaranteed response. Therefore, even if it comes from your colleague or a really close friend of yours--don’t respond.
IRS uses traditional communication
The recent would want you to believe that IRS initiates communication through their official email address. However, in contrast, IRS still prefers to use the conventional communication method--mail. Here’s what IRS has to say about its communication: “The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Be cautious of new and evolving schemes this summer and always keep in mind that the IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. Recognizing these telltale signs of a phishing or tax scam could save you from becoming a victim."
The scam artists wouldn’t stop at anything. If you choose not to respond to their emails, they may send follow up emails threatening you with a lawsuit or imprisonment should you not make the payments. But keep in mind--you shouldn’t fall for that either. To make it look real, the cybercriminals may say they’re contacting you through emails as a last resort as the “mail” were returned as undelivered. If you still are getting harassed by such emails, you may contact IRS directly on 800-829-1040.