The IRS has issued a warning to tax professionals about a new IRS themed ransomware attack presently being sent by email. If someone were to click on the link in the email, ransomware would be downloaded that would encrypt and lock the information of the person falling for the scam leaving the victim facing the dilemma of having to pay a ransom in order to retrieve his or her computer data or face the threat of having the data destroyed.
Here is a copy of the email presently being circulated. As phishing emails go, this one is not particularly convincing. It is filled with grammatical and punctuation errors which often are a sign that the scam originated in a country where English is not the primary language.
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers or tax professionals by email or text messages to request personal or financial information. In addition, to avoid all kinds of malware including ransomware, you should never click on links in emails or text message unless you have confirmed that the email or text message is legitimate. Specifically to protect yourself from ransomware, individuals as well as companies and government agencies should backup all data regularly and make sure that security software is constantly updated with the latest security patches.