The IRS posted a warning on their website this morning asking the public to be careful of potential fraudulent emails from criminals attempting to disguise themselves as trusted sources. The messages typically contain bait links that prompt the users to install important software updates, but instead infiltrate their computer and grant remote access to the thieves.
The email scheme is the latest in a series of attempts by fraudsters to use the IRS or other tax issues as a cover to trick people into giving up sensitive information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, or to make unnecessary payments.
Some of the suggestions by the IRS to prevent scams include
- Be alert for phishing scams: do not click on links or open attachments contained in e-mails and always utilize a software provider’s main webpage for connecting to them
- Run a security “deep scan” to search for viruses and malware
- Strengthen passwords for both computer access and software access; make sure your password is a minimum of 8 digits long (more is better) with a mix of numbers, letters and special characters
Read the full message from the IRS here.