Seemingly every day cyber criminals find a way to try and steal personal information from taxpayers in an effort to make a quick buck. The latest scheme involves IRS impersonation by way of emails with subject lines like "Automatic Income Tax Reminder", "Electronic Tax Reminder" that appear to come from the IRS. The emails contain a link to what looks like the IRS website with details related to a taxpayer's refund or tax account, and a "temporary password" to access files in order to submit a refund. Upon trying to gain access, a malicious file opens.
Malicious files can give hackers access to a taxpayer's computer or secretly download a keylogger that tracks every keystroke leading to stolen passwords for sensitive accounts. It's important to remember that the IRS will not initiate contact with taxpayers via email, text message or social media to request personal or financial information; which includes PIN numbers, passwords, credit card information or bank account information. Additionally, the IRS does not use the phone to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method and will first send a bill by mail.