The IRS is alerting residents in the Washington, DC area of a new phishing scheme being distributed by email.
According to the IRS, the email cites tax fraud and tries to trick victims into verifying “the last four digits of their social security number” by clicking on a link provided with the email.
The criminals specifically state that this is for tax filers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. As a further attempt to trick residents of the Capital region, the email scam even suggests that information from recent data breaches across the nation may be involved.
Since many current and former federal employees had their personal data left vulnerable from the two data breaches announced by the Office of Personnel Management last year, federal workers should be on alert for these fraudulent emails.
“As we approach the final days of this filing season, we continue to see these tax scams evolve.” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We don’t send emails like this, and there’s no special effort underway for people in the District, Virginia and Maryland. As these criminals shift their tactics, the IRS remains committed to quickly warning the taxpayers who may be targeted. Taxpayers should be on the lookout for these scams.”
Phishing Schemes and How to Protect Yourself
Phishing is a scam typically carried out with the help of unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site to lure in potential victims and prompt them to provide valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, a criminal can commit identity theft or financial theft.
If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page.
It is important to keep in mind that the IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS has information online that can help protect taxpayers from email scams.