The IRS is warning taxpayers about a new phishing scam. Phishing, a word play on “fishing” for information, is a scam in which Internet fraudsters send seemingly legitimate e-mail messages to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information.
Alternately, the purpose of an e-mail scam may be to download malware, or malicious code, onto the recipient’s computer when the recipient opens an attachment to the e-mail or clicks on a link within the e-mail. The malware could take over the victim’s computer hard drive, giving someone remote access to the computer, or it could look for passwords and other information and send them to the scamster.
The IRS wants New Jerseyans to be aware of a recent scam in which recipients receive an e-mail that claims to come from the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). EFTPS is a tax payment system that allows individuals and businesses to pay federal taxes electronically via the Internet or phone.
“The e-mail states that tax payments made by the e-mail recipient through EFTPS have been rejected,” said Gregg Semanick, IRS New Jersey Spokesperson. “The e-mail then directs recipients to a bogus website containing malicious software that infects the intended victim’s computer. To avoid the bogus website and malware, do not click on any links, open any attachments or reply to the sender for any e-mail you may receive that claims to come from EFTPS.”
“The IRS and the Financial Management Service, the Treasury bureau that owns EFTPS, never communicates payment information through e-mail,” Semanick said.
If you receive an IRS related e-mail that you suspect is a phishing attempt or directs you to an imitation IRS website, please forward it to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit IRS.gov and enter the keyword phishing for additional information.