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'Update IRS E-File' Phishing Scam


Outline

Email purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service demands that recipients click a link to update their IRS e-file.

Facebook phising
© Depositphotos.com/ fabioberti.it

Brief Analysis

The email is not from the IRS. It is a phishing scam designed to steal personal and financial information. Links in the message open a fraudulent website designed to look like a genuine IRS page. Scam emails claiming to be from tax agencies are common.  If you receive one of these emails, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

Example

Subject: Attention ::: View Return Status (IRS.gov)

From: IRS.gov <IRSgovIRS-gov@outlook.com>

IRS.gov
**********
Internal Revenue Service.
you are to update your IRS e-file immediately, To Update -  < Click Here >

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal.
IRS e-file. Since 1990
****************************

IRS -efile-update scam

Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which claims to be from America's Internal Revenue Service (IRS), recipients must click a link to update their IRS e-file immediately.

The message does not provide a reason why the update is necessary, but its rather threatening tone implies that complying is important.

However, the email is certainly not from the IRS and the claim that users must update their tax details is a lie.

The email is a phishing scam designed to trick recipients into sending their personal and financial information to cybercriminals. The criminals hope that at least a few recipients, panicked into believing that they may be in trouble with the IRS, will click the link and supply the requested information without due caution. Those who do click the link will be taken to a website that has been designed to mirror an official IRS page. Once on the bogus site, they will be asked to fill in various forms, ostensibly to update their file and avoid repercussions. The forms will ask for personal and ID information as well as banking and credit card data.

All of the information will be collected by criminals and used to commit financial fraud and identity theft.

Phishing scams purporting to be from various tax agencies around the world are very common.  Many of the scam messages claim that recipients can apply for an unexpected tax refund by clicking a link and supplying their information.

Be very wary of any message that purports to be from your government's tax agency that instructs you to click a link or open an attached file to update details or claim a refund.



Last updated: April 20, 2014
First published: April 20, 2014
Written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information
ATO Activity Statement Refund Phishing Scam
HM Revenue & Customs 'Unclaimed Refund' Phishing Scam
IRS Tax Refund Phishing Scam