The most critical things scammers are after are your personal information and money. How they get to it varies. Tap or click here for the scams seniors fall for most and how to spot them.
Thieves are getting much better at spoofing companies and government agencies, hoping to rip you off. These dangerous phishing attacks are on the rise.
Keep reading to find out how thieves are now impersonating the IRS with tricky text messages and a few ways to protect against them.
Here’s the backstory
Cybercriminals often impersonate government agencies such as the IRS to make emails or text messages seem legitimate. But a recent scam campaign has become so common that the Internal Revenue Service had to step in.
According to a blog post, the agency warns of a text scam designed to steal your personal information and financial details.
The texts look like they are coming from the IRS and include instructions on how to get your share of a COVID relief fund or child tax credits. In addition, some offer helpful advice on setting up your online IRS account.
Here are some typical methods used in these scams to steal your info:
- The message includes a link to a malicious website.
- Some messages might have attachments that, if downloaded, install malware on your device.
- Texts ask directly for personal or financial information.
- Messages are sometimes vague in their language and not directed at you personally.
What you can do about it
There are a few things that you can do to stay ahead of scammers. The most important thing to remember with this scheme is that the IRS will never send you a text or email asking for personal details or account numbers.
Here are some more safety precautions to follow.
Don’t reply or respond to any text messages that claim to be from the IRS. If you receive an email with a link or attachment, don’t click or open it. Instead, delete the correspondence and mark it as spam. Never give out personal information over text or email to anyone you don’t know personally.
You should also take note of the number and a screenshot of the message. Then, report the phishing attack to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are instructions from the IRS on how to do that:
- Send an email with the screenshot to email@example.com.
- Copy the caller ID number (or email address).
- Paste the number (or email address) into the email.
- Press and hold the SMS/text message and select “copy.”
- Paste the message into the email.
- If possible, include the exact date, time, time zone and telephone number that received the message.
- Send the email.
This allows the IRS to report scams to the appropriate service providers, protecting other taxpayers who might receive the same scam.