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Ransomware scam puts taxpayers in danger

| Aug 30, 2017 | IRS

Taxpayers in Georgia should be on the lookout for an email scam that may hold a person’s computer data for ransom. The ransomware scheme sends a message to taxpayers using the logos of both the FBI and the IRS, and it asks recipients to download a questionnaire from the FBI. However, recipients should know that the regulations cited in the email are fake and the link does not lead to any sort of legitimate document.

Instead, it begins the process of downloading ransomware to the victim’s computer. The IRS says that it will never contact an individual by email, text message or social media to discuss matters pertaining to an individual’s tax situation. Furthermore, the IRS will never ask a taxpayer to make a payment over the phone or demand that it be made in a specific manner such as by using a prepaid debit card.

Taxpayers should also know that the IRS will never ask for payment before first allowing them to question the amount owed. The IRS will not say that local law enforcement will take taxpayers into custody if their obligations are not paid immediately. Those who are victims of a ransomware attack are advised to contact the FBI immediately.

As a general rule, the IRS does not seize assets or take other drastic steps against taxpayers as an initial means of obtaining back taxes owed. Those who receive threatening phone calls or emails may wish to contact the authorities as opposed to paying anybody. From there, it may be best to contact the IRS to determine if there is a legitimate tax issue that needs to be addressed.

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